Sharachchandra Bhandary in Moscow (RSS)
The Russian Federation has said that it attaches great importance to its relationship with Nepal and wants to further bolster it for the broader benefit of both countries.
An official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia says that the relationship between Russia and Nepal, which has been moving forward seamlessly for more than six decades, will not be disturbed by trivial matters and minor irritants.
Despite having trying times back home since February 24 last year, Russian envoy to Nepal Aleksei Novikov generously hosted this scribe a fam trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The motive of this trip was to have first-hand information and learn ground realities following the 'special military operation in Ukraine.'
In a brief interview with RSS, Sergey Nalobin, Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department asked not to forget the past mutual cooperation between Nepal and Russia and Russia's support for Nepal's development endeavors. He said, "We want Nepal to respect our bilateral relations, our cooperation and long-standing friendship."
He expressed his readiness to extend every possible support to Nepal in her quest for development. "Be it food, fertilizer or fuel we are ready to extend our helping hands. We've not received any formal request from your government so far," he candidly shared.
Deeply disappointed by Nepal's voting against Russia in the United Nations on its special operation in Ukraine, he said that Russia will respect the non-aligned foreign policy that Nepal has been pursuing since long. Though he did not categorically mention Nepal's role in the UN voting, he hinted that taking the side of the US in the context of the special operation in Ukraine was beyond Moscow's imagination.
Nepal, which adheres to the principle of non-alignment and neutrality in its foreign policy, has been continuously condemning Russia's operation on Ukraine. However, Nepal was absent during the recent voting on the proposal that Russia should be removed from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Despite the pressure, Nepal did not support financial and economic sanctions against Russia, noted the Deputy Director. “We appreciate your good attitude towards the Russian Federation and your interest in developing cooperation,” he added. As we live in the digital era and the flow of fake news has become a major challenge, he is of the view that it should be discouraged applying all the means backed by facts and figures.
It may be noted that the economic and technical cooperation between the two countries started in 1959. Russian cooperation in building physical and industrial infrastructure contributed to accelerate the modernization process in Nepal in the past. The former USSR provided assistance to Nepal for the setting-up of Kanti Hospital, Panauti Hydro-electric power station, Pathalaiya-Dhalkebar Highway, Janakpur Cigarette Factory, Agricultural Tools Factory, Birgunj Sugar Mill and Resin and Turpentine Plant, among others. The Russian Federation extended support for the relief of the victims in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes of 2015, which the Nepali people will never ever forget.
The recent visit of the Chairman of the National Assembly to the Russian Federation and the high-level meetings held during his stay here have helped to mend the bitterness of the past and to take the relationship forward in a new vein. Russian officials also want to bury the hatchet and start working together to take Nepal-Russia relations to a new height.