Jan 6, 2012

ZOP still relevant: Foreign policy experts

Speaking at an interaction programme, speakers said that the concept of “Zone Of Peace” formulated by late King Birendra is still relevant. 

At the programme organized by Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal on the occasion of the 67th birth anniversary of King Birendra, the speakers said that now Nepal becoming ZOP has become important for our two giant neighbours—India and China.

They explained that lapses of peace, stability and development in Nepal will affect the sensitive security concerns of the two neighbours.

Former ambassador Jayaraj Acharya said that 116 countries had recognized the ZOP proposal formulated by King Birendra. Nepal failed to endorse the ZOP proposal as she was unable to bring into confidence India. He said that perhaps the diplomatic efforts to bring India into confidence was not that much effective to convince her.

“Now, India must have realized that only peaceful Nepal can safeguard her sensitive security concerns,” he said.

Explaining the contribution of King Prithivi Narayan Shah the Great in the formation of modern Nepal and King Mahendra’s contributing in balancing diplomacy with the two neighbours, Acharya said that King Biorendra had explored the concept of declaring Nepal as ZOP with the aim of developing Nepal. 

Currently, Nepal-India relations have been aggravated due to many issues, specially regarding India’s security concerns. In this regard, the relevance of ZOP is still significant not for Nepal only, but also for India and China. 

“Therefore, the two giant countries should take initiative to recognize Nepal as a ZOP,” Acharya remarked.

Former ambassador Hiranyalal Shrestha, citing the current state of foreign affairs, said that the country’s foreign policy is in a vulnerable state. 

Shrestha said that China has given a strong message to the Nepal government by canceling the visit of the Chinese Premier to this country. On the other hand, India is also complaining about the misuse of Nepal-India international borders, which are open, by international terrorist organizations. 

There are complaints from both the countries and both the countries are worried from possible internal security threats from Nepal, said Shrestha. 

“Nepal has to be able to safeguard the security concerns of both the countries as the security component is very important for them,” he said.

The Tibetan refugees staying here are not the problem, but the Tibetans arriving here from Dharamshala are creating problems. Several third countries are playing the Tibet card, from which China has become suspicious, he analyzed. 

We have to convince India to regulate our open borders with India as open borders have become very vulnerable. If borders are regulated, we will be able to control the movement of terrorists and fake currency racketeers and safeguard India’s security concern, Shrestha opined. 

After the removal of the institution of Monarchy, efforts are on to recruit 10 thousand trained Indian Madheshis who have obtained citizenship just recently, he claimed. This is a plan to destabilize our national security organ, Shrestha opined. 

He said that the present government is very much inclined with India, which is wrong and added that the country should maintain equidistance relations with both the giant neighbours. 

“Peaceful, prosperous Nepal is for the benefit of our giant neighbours”, he said.

Finally, he suggested for reviving ZOP and urged for including the ZOP in our new constitution so that we can safeguard the security concerns of the two neighbours. 

Kamal Thapa, chairman, RPPN and former foreign minister, said that security, peace and development are inter-complementary to each other. Our foreign policy should be guided by these three components, he said.

Considering the peaceful development of Nepal, King Birendra had urged the international community for recognizing Nepal as a ZOP on 13 Falgun, 2031 (25 February, 1975).

At present, our foreign policy has reached to that extent where we are unable to define our security concerns; we have not been able to secure our freedom, existence and national sovereignty, Thapa explained. 

Non-aligned foreign policy has no alternative as well, as the principle of peaceful coexistence is still significant and ZOP proposal is still relevant, Thapa said.

Chief guest at the function, former prime minister Kirtinidhi Bista also repeated that the country’s situation is very vulnerable and in a total mess. King Prithivi Narayan Shah the Great’s “Wisdom of Words” are still significant and our foreign policy should be guided by this “Wisdom of Words”. 

Bista said that Nepal should be able to take into confidence both the giant neighbours, “specially in security issues, we should be able to understand their sensitivity”. 

Bista particularly indicating towards India, said that she should change her policy towards Nepal and should understand that peace in Nepal is beneficial for India. 

“21st Century is the era of Asia and we need to win the confidence of India and China by protecting our own national interests,” Bista said.

The function was chaired by Rajaram Shrestha, assistant general secretary and chair, central publicity department of RPPN.  

Courtesy: People's Review

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