FOREGN MINISTRY: Sans Experience?

At a time when there are vacancies for a large number of ambassadors in important missions abroad, the interim government has posted a few joint secretaries to take up the jobs

Nov. 30, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -11 Nov. 29- 2013 (Mangsir 14, 2070)

From trade to human relation, and border to security and development, issues are aplenty for Nepal to deal with in India every day. Being a close neighbor with so many ties and interactions, Nepal’s India mission in New Delhi is one of the most important diplomatic assignments.

Despite all these important relations and close interactions, Nepal has not shown urgency in handling this complex relationship with India in case of ambassadorial appointments. Although the vacancy for the ambassadorial position has been there for the last three years, Nepal is yet to appoint an ambassador to India. Since Rukma Shumsher Rana was recalled by then government two years ago, the mission was under the Charge’d affairs Khagraj Ahikari. Minister for Foreign Affairs Madhav Prasad Ghimire recently posted a joint secretary, Krishna Prasad Dhakal, who was promoted as a joint secretary to the Ministry a year back through an open competition.

As Adhikari, who has been in New Delhi for the last three years, reportedly named as head of Nepal’s mission in Geneva, the government has decided to post Krishna Prasad Dhakal to the DCM. In the same decision, the government has also posted a senior joint secretary as the Deputy Chief of the Mission in Washington DC. Ghimire, who has experiences serving in India, would have been a better choice for New Delhi compared to newcomer Dhakal, who entered Ministry of Foreign Affairs through open competition. Although joint secretary Dhakal is a brilliant civil servant having worked almost 15 years in National Planning Commission, this is his first appointment to such an important mission.

Out of the 17 joint secretaries, there are also more senior and India experienced hands in foreign ministry. Joint secretaries Yagya Bahadur Hamal and Kali Prasad Rimal, who have experiences of serving in Indian Mission in New Delhi, are also there, but nobody understands the rationale of the caretaker government to make two such important appointments. Although the government posted two joint secretaries in two important places, it is yet to make appointments in the Nepalese Embassy in Beijing where the post of Deputy Chief of the Mission is vacant for almost two years. Similarly, the government is yet to moot any proposals for the appointment of ambassadors in over 10 missions abroad.

As the formation of the government is going to take some time given the current political equation, the appointment of the new ambassadors will be delayed in New Delhi and foreign relations experts are very perplexed on the issue of this decision.

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