Nepal-Pakistan relations in the contemporary world order – Telegraph Nepal
On the occasion of Pakistan Day 23 March 2022
Dr Bishnu Hari Nepal
Former Ambassador of Nepal to Japan
Hon. Country Director, South Asia Policy Analysis Network SAPANA-Nepal
Even though Nepal and Pakistan established official diplomatic relations on March 20, 1960, the people-to-people ties within the framework of the “Himalayan civilization” have been linked since time immemorial.
Before the West recorded the history of Buddhist inscriptions at Mohenjo-daro and more, as part of the Indus Valley Civilizationin present-day Taxila (25 km northwest of Islamabad) of Pakistan, the world’s first university, Takshashila University, as a center of learning in South Asia existed.
Taxila is an Urdu name. In Pali he is known as Takkila and in Sanskrit Takshashila.
According to Eastern philosophy, and as a part of the prehistoric Himalayan civilizations, the largest book on earth even to this day (with 100,000 epics), the Mahabharata was written at Vedvyas Ashram in present-day district from Tanahun in Nepal.
But the Mahabharata was first recited in Taxila in the presence of the writer Maharshi Vedvyas during the Sarpa Satra/Nagasuya Yagya -a ritual- by the then king Janamejaya.
He was the grandson of Abhimannyu and son of Parikshit.
It shows the connection between people between the two countries since time immemorial.
It is the only seldom explored part of the annals of the immemorial relations followed by the Indus Valley Civilizations and more so as attributed by Western historians between the peoples of today’s Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
While observing the modern evolving diplomatic efforts, after the establishment of official diplomatic relations in 1960, it is seen that the two countries have maintained their ties as a priority.
This is because the two countries were able to establish the ambassador-level residential embassies in their respective capitals in 1962.
In 1963, the two countries were able to sign the most favored nation (MFN) protocol of bilateral relations.
As a result, the two countries agreed on free access to trade and transport facilities through the port of Chittagong (formerly East Pakistan), as well as Air Link.
During the Indo-Pakistani War in East Pakistan in 1971, Nepal played a non-aligned role given the good relations between the two warring countries.
But at the time of the recognition of the newly created country Bangladesh by Nepal, Pakistan showed some dissatisfaction with Nepal, but it did not take long to understand the regional scenario in Pakistan, and relations became as smooth as before.
This is because along with main rival India, Pakistan had signed the Shimla Agreement in 1972. As a result, in 1975, Hon. The office of the Consulate General was established in Karachi. The stage itself was another milestone in the friendly relations between the two countries.
Nepali-Pakistani relations in the current context:
There are so many valuable illustrations on bilateral, regional and international events that Nepal and Pakistan stand together in modern diplomatic maneuvers.
I like to name just five:
A: It is very interesting to note that the British, when they hired Gurkhas after the Anglo-Nepalese war, “the Sugauli war” (1814-1816), trained the Gurkhas in the beautiful city of Lahore.
And at home in Nepal, the Gurkhas were/are popularly recognized as “Lahure”. In fact, the popular word Lahure is derived from the place where they were formed, i.e. the beautiful city of Lahore!
Two: People of Nepal will never forget Pakistan’s magnanimous support to Nepal, when Nepal suffered a national crisis due to the devastating EQ of 2015, floods and landslides of 2017 (1.00 million dollars) and Nepal line of credit of $5.00 million and above.
Three: Unwritten story that the late King Birendra suppressed his prepared speech – with the ZOP proposal at the Algiers NAM summit in 1973. But at his coronation banquet on February 25, 1975, he proudly presented the proposal of ZOP in front of world leaders in Kathmandu.
Pakistan fully understood Nepal’s position and strongly supported Nepal’s ZOP proposal – which was then the mainstream of Nepalese foreign policy.
Four: Since the presidential level in 1963, Pakistan’s Prime Minister level visits to Nepal in 1994, 2014 and 2018 have always added another brick to the cementing of bilateral relations and demonstrated closeness, common platform and cordial friendship within the framework of Pakistan. and Nepal both playing a proactive role with their neighbors in South Asia.
In 2019, the two countries celebrated 60 years of diplomatic relations and it was a moment of celebration.
Five: The historic winter ascent of Mount K2 in Pakistan (8,611m, 2nd highest in the world) by the 10 Nepalese mountaineers at risk to their lives on January 16, 2021, Saturday, is a profound example of true bilateral friendship between the people and countries.
Measuring Nepal-Pakistan relations through the “4T-HEI model” (Nepal, 2003/2018):
On T1 = Trade Paradigm: After 1962 MFN trade protocol, the two countries signed trade agreements in 1982 as well. Both countries are committed to SAFTA and the South Asian Economic Union-SAEU.
The total volume of trade between the two countries is around $4.8 million.
Pakistan exports goods worth $1.631 million to Nepal and Nepal exports goods worth about $3.166 million.
The Joint Business Council (JBC) formed in 1996 and made up of the Federation of Nepal Chambers of Commerce and Industry-FNCCI and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce FPCCI We still have to work hard to increase the volume of trade.
Similarly, in 2005, research shows that the Confederation of Nepalese Industries-CNI entered into agreements with the chambers of commerce and industry in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.
In retrospect, as mentioned above, the two countries entered into a trade agreement as early as October 19, 1962. It read that the trade agreement “…provides for the granting of ‘most favored nation’ treatment by a country to the other in matters of commerce.” (YP Pants, 1962)
They were renewed in 1982, 1984, 2018 etc. but the most important thing today is that like the bilateral consultation mechanism at the level of the minister of foreign affairs, the joint economic commission JEC at the ministerial level of finance must also be reactivated so that it can recommend the prognosis the more efficient. increase the volume of trade in identified and unidentified goods.
On T2= Tourism Sector, the two countries had an important agreement in 2009. Today, nearly 5,000 Pakistani tourists visit Nepal each year, but this calls for more efforts to increase the number bilaterally in the coming days.
T3: Transportation: There is an urgent need for more airlines to start flights between Kathmandu and major cities in Pakistan.
Nepal could join Karakorum highway via BRI via Kerung (for now).
The most economical route will be through the Him Channel (Nepal, 2003/2004/2011/2018), if implemented, joining -21st Century Maritime Silk Road (Route) in the Bay of Bengal and via the Sri Lanka, Maldives and Gwadar joining CPEC.
T4: Technology Transfer: It is encouraging that Pakistan has increased the scholarship quota for Nepal also in 2018 thanks to PTAP-Pakistan Technical Assistance Program -number of students reaching more than 500.
Therefore, technology transfer can be implemented in human resource management, agricultural development, social development (1970, the two countries signed a cultural agreement: inter-university and communications and established the Nepal Association and Pakistani Friendship and Culture Group in Kathmandu and the NFG-Nepal Friendship Group in Islamabad), infrastructure development, energy and environmental conservation areas, etc.
HEI: Hydroelectricity/Energy, Environment and Investment Promotion:
Nepal can sincerely learn from Hydro Generation that Pakistan is not only using China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the development of connectivity and infrastructure, but also by actually producing more than 23,000 MW of hydroelectricity. This helps the conservation of the environment tremendously as well.
As far as FDI is concerned, Nepal could learn from Pakistan that it uses nearly $65 billion from CPEC only under BRI and AIIB.
China’s pledge to invest $16.3 billion in Nepal through the BRI is a big sum of money for Nepal, but the pace of development is not picking up the expected momentum.
It is an open secret that the harmful effects of Indo-Pakistani conflicts threatened the effectiveness of SAARC.
Pakistan was ready to host the 19th SAARC summit scheduled for November 15-16, 2016, but mainly due to India’s reluctance, this could not be achieved until today. Nepal’s efforts as the chairperson of the SAARC body playing a crucial role in normalizing the situation and organizing the SAARC summit in Islamabad were commendable and continue.
In fact, according to SAARC protocol, Pakistan is the de jure president after Nepal.
But diplomatic procedures are taking shape in a different paradigm shift.
Also in Track II diplomacy, we are working hard to put South Asia on the right track.
Theoretically, through my “Achieving the Unreachable Model”, I have personally made thousands of comments for the contemporary South Asian order system.
It is certainly difficult to resolve the South Asian stratification by making a homogeneous SAARC body, but it is not impossible.
At hand, SAARC’s survival even in cementing Nepal-Pakistan relations is inevitable and significant from the regional perspective.
(The distinguished author is a global critic on international relations, peace, conflict, security, and development studies and is available at: http://www.twitter.com/drbishnuhnepal).
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