“Nepali Embassy Will Help British Investors, Visitors” Ambassador Subedi

With over three decades in various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador of Nepal to the United Kingdom DURGA BAHADUR SUBEDI has shown his competence and capability as a diplomat. As Nepal and the United Kingdom are celebrating 200 years of establishment of their diplomatic relations, ambassador Subedi, who is popularly known as Dubasu Chhetri in Nepali literary circle, spoke to NEW SPOTLIGHT on various issues. Excerpts:

Nov. 18, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol 10. No.7, November 18, (Mangsir. 03,2073)

How do you view the state of Nepal-Britain relations?

Nepal-Britain relations at present are very excellent and warm. As we have been celebrating the two hundreds of years of establishment of our relations, this is the time to further strengthen the relations. After a long gap, high level visit has started again. The visit of Prince Harry to Nepal was important in this regard. Similarly, Nepal’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister also paid a visit to the United Kingdom. Exchange of high level meetings have definitely contributed to further strengthening our relations.

How do you see your role in leading Nepal’s oldest embassy in the United Kingdom?

It is a matter of great honor for me to come to the United Kingdom as the Nepali ambassador. I am really proud to say that I got this historic opportunity to serve as an ambassador in a country with which Nepal has two hundred years of bilateral relations. As we are celebrating the two hundred years of establishment of diplomatic relations, this is a time for both the countries to further strengthen the relations. The United Kingdom is Nepal’s oldest friend and Nepal government also attaches high importance on the bilateral relations. Our relations with the United Kingdom has remained stable with no disputes on any issue. This relationship is further strengthened by Gurkha connections.

As an ambassador, what is your priority now?

One of my priorities of foremost importance is to work towards strengthening the existing, centuries old, bilateral relations. As the United Kingdom is Nepal’s largest development partner, supporting various development sectors, my efforts will be to continue to play the role of a facilitator to increase the development aid to Nepal. I will use all my diplomatic skills and experiences to further strengthen Nepal-Britain relations.

What will you do?

My whole commitment is towards my country’s prosperity and development. I will work with strong dedication and commitment to strengthen our relations for the betterment of Nepali people. I will also take the necessary steps to increase the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries.

It is often reported that Nepalese ambassadors favor one group against another on the basis of their party affiliation. How do you want to show you are different?

I want to be an ambassador of all Nepali diaspora but not a particular section or ideology. Along with working in various embassies in different positions, including as an acting ambassador in Bahrain, where I established Nepali Embassy, I learnt the skills to work closely with the Nepali diaspora. During my tenure as a DCM in Japan, I had the opportunity to work with political appointees. My experiences of having worked with political and career diplomats will help me.

What are your other priorities in the United Kingdom?

Along with maintaining our centuries old political and diplomatic relations, my priority is also for economic diplomacy. I will do my best to promote trade, tourism and investment. With Nepal’s trade deficit widening, I will focus on how to increase Nepal’s export to Britain. I will also encourage British investors to come to invest in Nepal’s tourism and hydropower. I will discuss the matter with the business communities through the bilateral level trade organizations like Nepal Britain Chamber of Commerce Industry and Britain Nepal Chamber of Commerce, Nepal Britain Society and Britain Nepal Society.

How do you see the cultural relations between the two countries?

At present cultural diplomacy is also equally important. The educational relations between Nepal and Britain are historic. Since the establishment of Durbar High School, the first English school, Nepal has been receiving support from the United Kingdom in education sector. Large numbers of Nepali students have been joining the British education institutions. There are a large number of British scholars who have made intense studies on anthropological aspects of Nepal Himalayas. I had also the privilege to study in the Leeds University, one of the renowned British Universities, during my career. This is one of the other important areas for me to work on.

With a large number of Nepali diaspora in the United Kingdom, don’t you think that is a bit difficult?

As there is a large size of Nepali diaspora in the United Kingdom, I will work on how to use the skills and knowledge of the diaspora in Nepal’s overall development. My efforts will be to use the strength of the Nepali diaspora in social and economic development of Nepal. I was in London in 1993-1994 Academic year and I still have my friends there. I was a section officer at that time. My friends still remember me and we maintain our relations. I will also work to increase the level of delegations visiting the country. I will work closely with Nepali diaspora as well. There will be no discrimination in the embassy. The embassy is ready to provide all kinds of facilities to Nepali citizens. It is open to all to listen to all kinds of grievances.

What plans do you have to increase the number of British tourists in Nepal?

For the British investors and British tourists, Nepalese Embassy will provide all necessary support. The visa processing hours have already increased. This will increase the numbers of visitors in Nepal. British visitors will get the visa faster.

Do you see the possibility of increasing the export to Britain?

Currently, bilateral trade between the two countries is very small in vloume. Britain should be a good market for Nepali products like garment and carpet. I have already talked with the president of Nepal Britain Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rajendra Khetan and his counterpart on the issue. They showed me the possibility to increase the bilateral trade. I want to work with the business community closely.

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