BHARAT RAJ PAUDYAL: Diplomat With Passion

Newly-appointed foreign secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal has a task before him to handle an uneasy situation in Nepal’s foreign relations in the midst of COVID-19 Pandemic

Oct. 17, 2020, 10:27 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 14 No. 05, October 16, 2020 ( Ashwin 30, 2077) Publisher: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

Francois De Callieres, a French diplomat of the 16th century and Guru of diplomacy, writes in his book, The Art of Diplomacy, that a man who has the command of himself and is always cool in temper, has a great advantage in dealing with one who is hot and fiery. “To succeed in the diplomatic employments, one must speak little and hear a great deal, one must have calm, deservedness, a great deal of discretion, and patience in abundance,” Callieres writes.

New foreign secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal does have similar qualities. Knowing Paudyal’s personal quality, his predecessor Shanker Das Bairagi, who is promoted as chief secretary, had chosen him as the second man in command for the last five years giving him the responsibility as the spokesperson.

With a long tradition and history, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has been much politicized and destabilized in the last 30 years, is still regarded as an institution with a pool of talented civil servants.

In addition to his long experience in the foreign ministry, Paudyal has also served as Nepalese ambassador to Pakistan. He is the 24th foreign secretary of Nepal.

At a time when the COVID-19 Pandemic has badly affected the world, which is witnessing growing tensions here and there, Paudyal has taken the major responsibility.

Bharat Raj Paudyal.jpg

Nepal has seen many ups and downs and passed through odd situations in dealing with India over the last five years. The publication of the new map by Nepal incorporating Kalapani has complicated Nepal’s relations with India.

In the words of former foreign secretary Professor Bishwa Pradhan, “The bulk of our foreign policy engagement is with India. Whether we like it or not, the geopolitics is such that, as an immediate neighbor, we are bound to have bilateral problems of multi-faced characters in our relations with India. As such, it is more in our national interest to seek to resolve those problems quickly. Basically, Nepal’s foreign policy is India Policy which covers most of the aspects of it ranging from the socio-economic to political fields.

He argues that we have already framed the best of relations by resolving all pertinent issues with Republic of China in the aftermath of 1955 with the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship on April 28, 1960.

As former foreign secretary Pradhan said in his book Diplomatic Strategy for Nepal, Paudyal’s first meeting with Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will be highly significant.

Secretary Paudyal, who has seen all these developments closely, will use his diplomatic skills to get things done. Having secured all the goodwill from his predecessors, including preceding foreign secretary and current chief secretary Shanker Das Bairagi, secretary Paudyal does have the backing from institutions and individuals.

With foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on his side, Paudyal has solid backing from the policy level. This is a very good asset.

“Glad that Bharat Raj Poudyal, a seasoned diplomat, has been appointed Nepal’s Foreign Secretary! Many congratulations and best wishes,” writes former foreign secretary Madhu Raman Acharya, on his Facebook wall.

"Congrats a lot. It is always a pleasure and even a privilege to wish n congratulate a valuable colleague of ours. He takes over as the 24th Foreign Secretary of Nepal despite the fact that two incumbents and cream of the cream and pride of our service,” writes former foreign secretary Madan Kumar Bhattarai in his Facebook wall.

“As a former foreign secretary preferring to call MRP foreign secretary as that took much of the tenure, we wish to record our profound appreciation of the valuable services rendered by Bharatji in his capacity as DG, Passport Department, when the MoFA was in the arduous n even challenging process of delivering services to the customers.”

“Warmest congratulations & best wishes on your most deserving appointment as the Foreign Secretary of Nepal! May you rise to your best in professionalizing the foreign service, moving beyond silos for best results & enriching the soul of Nepal as a mature nation-state!,” tweeted former foreign secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai.

Born in Chilaunebas, Syangja, Nepal in 1966, Paudyal joined civil service in 1987 through competitive exams. Secretary Paudyal has enormous challenges and opportunities before him.

Although renowned scholar late Rishikesh Shah and Sardar Bhim Bahadur Pande also served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in different capacities, Paudyal is the first man from Syangja to secure the highest position of MOFA.

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