Taking Nepal Britain Ties To The Highest Level

British Government started Gurkha recruitment from the same time to strengthen its security.

Jan. 16, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 08 No.- 14 January 16 - 2015 (Magh 2, 2071)

In the recent times, Nepal has been unable to handle foreign relations well. Its relations with the European countries have suffered, particularly Nepal-Britain relations. The British Empire maintained its close and cordial relations with Nepal even after defeating it. The base of Nepal's modern diplomatic relationship started from Sugauli Treaty of 1872.

In the international politics, diplomacy is a game of deceit and dishonesty as well as togetherness and intimacy. The then British Empire was in need of brave people who could die for a cause and who could take other lives, too. British India wanted Nepalis in its military to keep a large portion of South Asia as its colony. Thus, when the British Generals saw the bravery of Nepali people in the war, despite without good arms and weapons, it decided to keep its residency in Nepal and this was done through the Sugauli Treaty.

British Government started Gurkha recruitment from the same time to strengthen its security. As the British were strong in India, Rana regime of Nepal supported the British rule in India from the beginning to the end. Moreover, it is more appalling that the closure of Counselor service by British government was a major setback. This decision too is a proof of failing diplomacy of both countries.

Along with Britain, other western European countries always supported Nepal in difficult times. Only now, there seems to be something wrong in the relationship. French Embassy, which is the fourth Embassy to be established in Nepal, has downsized its office in Nepal. France opened its Embassy in Nepal after the Second World War. During that time France was very powerful. The French Embassy has already sold its prime property in Nepal.  Although France is further downsizing its embassy in Nepal, it is increasing its economic activities in an African country, Mali, which is smaller than Nepal. European nations do invest and maintain diplomatic relations unless somebody harms their national interest.  

Is not it a diplomatic failure of Nepal that British Embassy being the very first Embassy to be established in Nepal decides to issue visas for its country as well as other commonwealth countries from Delhi? I feel that Nepali people travelling to India’s New Delhi to obtain a visa which otherwise was easily available from Lazimpat and Naag Pokhari is a total diplomatic failure at the highest level. What were the people of Nepali Embassy in Britain and Ministry of Foreign Affairs doing when the British Government decided to take such a step?

At a time when Nepal and Britain are celebrating 200 years of establishment of diplomatic relations, there is the need to take certain drastic steps. Although Nepal is said to have maintained good relations with the United Kingdom over the last two hundred years, this Himalayan nation has been unable to make a single British Prime Minister visit it. Since he assumed office, British Prime Minister David Cameroon has taken certain decisions in favor of British Gurkha. As Nepal and Britain are celebrating their 200 years of diplomatic relations, British Prime Minister’s visit to Nepal would have been highly relevant. Such a visit would have provided an opportunity to maintain historical ties and diplomatic norms and values.

Britain always maintains its best relations with Nepal and has provided necessary support to uplift livelihood of poor Nepalese people. Britain's DFID is a largest developing partner of Nepal supporting poverty alleviation and infrastructure development. During King Mahendra’s visit to Britain in 1960s, British Queen Elizabeth went up to Victoria Railway Station to welcome him. During Queen’s Elizabeth's state visit to Nepal, Nepalese had also shown similar kinds of attachment to British Queen.

Britain has been saved on numerous occasions by the sheer bravery of Gurkha soldiers and there are many soldiers who have received Victoria Cross for their bravery and ignoring these facts is foolhardy. In this context, Nepal needs to take the initiative to invite the British Prime Minister to visit Nepal during the occasion of marking the 200 hundred years of diplomatic relations. Exchange of visits show country’s diplomatic importance. As Nepal and Britain have close and cordial relationship between the two countries, maintained through Sugauli, Nepal government needs to take some steps to invite the highest authority or the prime minister of United Kingdom to cement the old relations.

Dhan Prasad Pandit

Dhan Prasad Pandit

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