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Friday, October 19, 2012

Nepal's Political Crisis And Ideological Divide



Yuba Nath Lamsal
Democracy, in theory, is collective self-rule which implies that people oversee their affairs on the basis of collective consent. When it comes to practice, this has hardly been at work in the present complicated word. In ancient Athens, the true concept of democracy used to be practiced through the participation of all eligible citizens. Athenians would gather in the city center where they would collectively take decision on each and every issue of national significance. These decisions used to be binding for authorities and they had to implement without any question. In this self-functioning type of system or democracy, each electorate directly participated in the decision-making process and governance. This was called a direct democracy, which is the mother of democracy in the world.
With the march of time, the social fabric, demographic pattern and society itself underwent phenomenal change and transformation. With the demographic pressure, social structure and relations got complicated. The old systems that had been in practice for years, decades and centuries were replaced by the new and improvised ones to cope with the new changes in the social, political and cultural spheres and challenges. This also brought about a change in the thought process of the people, their style of functioning and decision-making.
The old system of practicing direct democracy became virtually impossible to implement in the present complicated world with the rapid population growth followed by urbanization of villages and cosmopolitanization of cities. The old system of direct democracy was replaced by the representative system in which electorates would choose their representatives to take decision on their behalf. This system is in vogue in the world at present which we call the liberal democracy.
The liberal democracy is being portrayed as the only legitimate political system of the people. The system of governance or liberal democracy was born and nurtured in the Western capitalist countries and was later put in test in other countries of the world, as well. Since it is their brain child, the Western countries champion, advocate and defend liberal democracy and try to establish and institutionalize it in the world as the best democratic system of governance. To them, any other form of political system challenging liberal democracy is tantamount to authoritarian system devoid of popular legitimacy. However, all other forms of system are not authoritarian and all political system based on Western political values alone may not necessarily signify genuine democracy.
Given the great debate going on in the global level, it seems that the dispute is focused not on the form and fashion of the political system but on values it champions. It is the clash between two value systems— the oriental and western values. In other words, the row is between individualism and collectivism and between the person and the community or society. The countries in the Western World are the advocate of individual rights and they have based quality and class of democracy on the level and extent of individual rights and freedom. However, the oriental countries focus more on community rights and interests than personal pursuit. This is the fundamental difference on the model and definition of democracy in the world.
On the definition as well as priority of rights, too, there is a marked difference and discrepancy. Western and Eastern societies are far apart on what should be the priorities of individual rights. Should the civil and political rights or right to life be the priority for an individual and government? The Eastern and the Western worlds are divided on this issue. The Western countries that espouse liberal democracy are of the view that individual freedom and rights make one free and ensure freedom and democracy. However, in the definition of Eastern countries, right to life, which includes access to and availability of food, housing, and clothes, are the basic rights of every individual. One has first to remain alive and grow healthy to enjoy other rights including the civil and political rights. In the absence of right to life, other rights become meaningless. This is what the socialist and communist countries and people also tend to believe. This divisive definition on democracy has led accusation and counter accusation between the supporters of Western liberal democracy and socialist/communist followers. The advocates of liberal democracy call the communists and socialist as tyrants because they deny civil and political rights in the name of guaranteeing right to life or economic and social rights. However, the socialists and communists deny the charges and instead dub the Western democracies as the mockery of democracy. They call the Western liberal democracy an exploitative system under which a handful of elites rule over the large majority of the people under the fa├žade of democracy because the majority of people are deprived of basic necessities.
Both the views and thoughts have their own logics, which may or may not be true in real sense. But what is true is that an individual first needs to survive, grow and develop to enjoy other rights. An individual would be able to enjoy his or her democratic rights only when he or she is alive. In this sense, the right to life should be the paramount concern for every individual. The conditions that ensure one’s survival includes food, housing and cloths, which are the most fundamental human rights of every individual. Once the basic necessities for survival are guaranteed, one needs the right to access to health care facilities and education for his or her growth and development. These rights are required to be guaranteed in order to enable a person to exercise and enjoy one’s own freedom and civil and political rights. In contrast, however, those who champion individual freedom and rights are of the view that one is born free and must remain free irrespective of his or her economic background. According to them, freedom is an essence of humanity and one can prosper and progress only when one enjoys his or her free status and right. This debate has given rise to dive between the two different sets of ideologies which can be categorized into two groups: pro-right group and pro-life camp. Capitalists are pro-rights and socialists or communists are generally known as pro-life groups.
Amidst this raging debate, Nepal’s political pundits, parties and forces, too, are divided into pro-rights and pro-life ideologies. Being a communist party, the UCPN-Maoist leads the pro-life camp in Nepal. The Nepali Congress represents capitalists and forces that support liberal democracy and it is known as pro-rights group. All other parties are rallying behind and revolving around these two main forces. This ideological rivalry is the main cause of present political deadlock in the country. This sharp difference was more visible in the constitution-making process. As the Constituent Assembly and all other political agenda that are on table at present are definitely the Maoist agenda. The UCPN-Maoist wants to institutionalize these agendas and some other progressive provisions in the constitution that would ensure basic tenets of right to life and some structural changes in the political, social, cultural and economic system of the country. However, the Nepali Congress and its allies are not keen on structural change but want to maintain status quo with some cosmetic changes in political system. The showdown between these two forces was more visible when the issues of federalism and state restructuring had to be settled in the Constituent Assembly. This showdown not only stalled the entire political process that had started six years ago after the signing of the 18-point understanding followed by Comprehensive Peace Accord but also led to the demise of the popularly elected Constituent Assembly.
Now the situation in Nepal is so critical that anything can happen anytime if political forces do not realize and collectively act to find an amicable solution. Domestic reactionary elements and external powers are active to reap benefit out of this present uncertain situation. So the politicians need to come down from their perches and sit down across the negotiating table to sort out their differences and strategize the future course of action. The stubborn political and partisan divide under the guise of ideologies and political stance must be put on hold at least for the time being and focus entirely on finding the way out to save the country from falling into yet another crisis and conflict.


European Union wins Nobel Peace Prize despite worst Euro crisis


Yuba Nath Lamsal
The European Union won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. It is not bad and not good either. An organization or individual has to get it and the EU got. That’s the bottom line. There should be no surprise as the organizing committee thought it appropriate to award the organization of their own governments. Looking back to history of Nobel Peace Prize, many deserving individuals and organizations have been honored with this most prestigious award. However, questions were raised over the credentials and qualification of certain individuals that were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
 This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has gone to the organizations of the European governments, the reins of which are at the hands of a few powerful countries. The Nobel Prize is nothing for such big powers in terms of the amount the prize carries. But this was a political backing to the organization. It was, indeed, a cheer for an organization that is struggling to tackle the continent's economic misery -- particularly in debt-ridden Greece, Spain, and Portugal -- as some member countries might be faced with dropping the euro, the EU currency. The honor has been bestowed upon the European Union at a time when the entire continent is struggling with the history’s worst economic crisis accompanied by social unrest and conflict. From Poland to Portugal, Spain to Sweden, Italy and Ireland and Belgium to Britain, the Euro Zone is suffering from one crisis to another. This has unnerved the economists, policy makers, experts and governments, who otherwise issue prescriptions for economic recovery to the governments of the developing countries. The decision to confer the coveted award has definitely boosted the morale of the entire Union and the governments within this organization. The announcement of Nobel Prize Committee surprised many including the officials of the European Union itself. Some officials even reacted with skepticism about whether the organization really deserved such a prestigious Prize. However, the European Union and its member nations have taken it as a positive news and move to recognize the European Union as the leader in peace building efforts in the world.  "The awarding of the prize must not leave us in the illusion that we are today being as successful as our forefathers," said former Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the European Parliament's liberal faction.  In the first ever response to the announcement of the decision of Nobel Prize Committee, European Commission’s   President Jose Manuel Barroso said, "When I woke up this morning I did not expect it to be such a good day”.
European Union is an organization of 27 countries of the European continent. The award, thus, brought much relief and jubilitation to people of all 27 countries and powers that control the body in particular. It is a respite for the countries that are confronted with ‘endless stream of negative economic data’ and debt crisis that has already challenged the social cohesion in the region and fueled ethnic and racial tension. Despite disturbances and disorder at home due mainly to recession and economic crisis, European Union is, no doubt, a beacon of hope for peace, stability and prosperity in the rest of the world. The EU is seen by the developing world as the savior and crusader for world peace, human rights and democracy. This is because, a key objective of the foreign and aid policy of the European is to promote peace, democracy and human rights in the world.  The award is, thus, the recognition to its efforts for world peace, prosperity and progress though democratization of the government and society as well as ensuring access to justice for all people including the underprivileged and downtrodden section.
However, there are critics and opponents, too, who have passed disparaging remarks on the decision to award the European Union with the Nobel Peace Prize.  At a time when the most of the members of the European Union are embroiled in internal squabbling and the organization has not been able to ensure harmony among its members itself, how can such an organization be judged as being qualified for getting such a highly revered and prestigious peace award? The European Union is, without any shade of doubt, mired in numerous problems and crises and it has not been able to solve its own problems. Ever since the European Union decided to enlarge its organizational structure by means of incorporating more members mainly the countries of former Soviet bloc, the EU is struggling to manage itself especially after Bulgaria and Romania joined the organization in 2007. It has been widely criticized that the EU, after the organizational enlargement, has lost its common purpose and common vision for which the organization had been created.
With the honor being bestowed upon this organization, now the Union has a moral obligation to further step up its efforts in bringing peace not only to its neighborhood but has to take necessary initiative in building and promoting peace in the world as a whole. They now have to sort out the serious differences on ways and means to get rid of the economic crisis that has swept many countries within the organization including Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy. In the absence of unanimous voice of the EU members, several key issues that have plagued some EU countries economically remain to be unresolved. Now European leaders are returning to the negotiating table to fight out their differences over a central euro zone banking supervisor—considered a key step to further integration and a precondition to bailing out ailing banks— the measures expected to rescue the ailing economies and countries. Most importantly, the peace that Europe has enjoyed since the end of the World War II is now taken for granted by its own citizens - despite recent conflict on its borders, in the Balkans and little further in the Middle East and the Central Asian region. And this peace must be maintained at any cost to make its presence felt in the world in a collective manner. In terms of economic size and population, Europe is losing its strength. The total size of population of EU is less than an individual Asian country. If the economic strength is to be taken into consideration, the individual European countries may not stand anywhere. Many countries in the developing world are emerging fast and in a very surprising manner. If EU countries do not stand collectively, they may lose their historic charm and image and ultimately lose their presence and clout in the international arena. This is one and only reason for the European countries to have come under a single umbrella and with a collective identity.
This is the age of collectivism. European Union is the leader in the collective approach and regional cooperation. And perhaps, in this lies the strength of the Europe. Perhaps, this is the message that has gone far and wide in the world which has persuaded many countries in the world to come up with various regional groupings guided by the purpose of bolstering regional cooperation. This concept of collectivism in dealing with and addressing the common problems are innovative steps towards achieving peace in the world and promoting democracy, prosperity and justice. Justifying it first full time EU President Herman Van Rompuy said that EU is the "biggest peacemaking institution ever created”, while Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who holds an influential post in the euro zone, has warned throughout the crisis that Europe has witnessed "a miracle" in the last sixty years.  
Defending the Nobel Prize Committee’s decision, Steven Blockmans, of the Centre for European Policy Studies, said the timing of the prize was the key. "It expresses the expectations ... that Europe sorts itself out and overcomes its internal squabbles on economic and financial integration and manages to keep the European integration project - which essentially is a peace project – going”. Jan Techau, the director of Carnegie Europe think-tank, also stressed the political dimension of the prize, which comes months before the 50th anniversary of the Elysee treaty reconciling France and Germany. "It gives the EU a morale boost at a time when it has been shaken to its core. The prize is an encouragement to the EU to continue its peace-generating integration work," Techau said. "It is a reminder to euro-skeptics to consider the real merits of the union they so despise, and it is an appeal to Europe to finally become a serious strategic player in the world."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Nepal Needs New Security Strategy


Yuba Nath Lamsal
Even though it is still in the state of fluid, Nepal is in the process of transformation. All old and obsolete concepts of nation state, its structure and political system have taken a paradigm shift with the systemic change brought about by the 19-day Jana Andolan II (popular movement) and a decade long Maoist insurgency. We have witnessed a phenomenal change in all spheres of country’s political life over the last six years since the peace accord was signed between the state and the UCPN-Maoist. The monarchy that had been in the helms of power for centuries based on feudal values was permanently trashed into the heap of history and Nepal was declared a republican state therein heralding a new era in which people have become masters of their own destiny.
The phenomenal political change has also brought about changes in the national perception on varied issues of public concerns including the national security. It has been widely felt that Nepal now needs a new national security doctrine clearly defining security concepts and possible threats to our national security emanating from various sources and sectors ( internal and external) and determining the ways and approach to deter and counter the threats. Based on these dynamics and parameters, a national security strategy and policy can be framed and executed along with clearly defined tools.
There is no uniformed definition of national security. But widely accepted definition of the national security is the strategy and action to maintain survival of the state as an independent physical entity defined by a fixed boundary followed by demographic and economic viability. A country has to first survive physically—for that matter it has to remain as an independent and sovereign country. Its prosperity is another component of national security. Every country has its own security strategy and priorities. Accordingly, security perceptions differ from one country to another depending upon the geo-political situation, military and economic strength.
The old concept and definition of security is to defend its territory and territorial integrity. Under this concept, there are external and internal dynamics and threats to one’s national security. The external threat emanates from a hostile neighbor in the form of military attack or interference. Military and physical attack does not always comes from the external forces but domestic separatist or terrorist/militant groups also sometimes pose serious threat to national unity and territorial integrity of a country, which is dealt by the use of force. In such a circumstance, military or hard security is needed. However, with the change of time and situation at both national and global level, the concept of security now encompasses wide arrays of issues. In the present modern world, the security is defined as a freedom from fear and freedom from want. In other words, it is defined state security and people’s security. Freedom from fear covers the issues that ensure physical safety of the state and its citizens. The state security mainly seeks to secure its border and maintain national independence and territorial integrity as well as protection of its people from all kinds of external encroachment and intrusion into its territory as well as internal physical attack and assault on the state or its citizens. Apart from defending its border, the state has to guarantee its citizens of their protection and security from any kind of physical assault. This is also related with the issue concerning the law and order. The state security is thus ensured by creating strong armed force and different security organs.
The other aspect of security is the people’s security or freedom from want. The people’s security basically means public good, which is maintained by guaranteeing people with their basic needs like food, housing, clothes, basic education, basic health care facilities and access to justice.  The concept of human security is relatively a new and recent phenomenon. This concept came into prominence in 1994 with the publication of the UNDP Human Development Report, which encompasses seven different dimensions including economic, food, health environmental, personal, community and political security. These concepts were later developed into the form of Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and most of the countries in the world have agreed to meet these goals within the set timeline.
The developed countries in the North that have most of the basic needs of the people already fulfilled often tend to focus more on state security, which they link with the broader security of the people and their national interest both at home and abroad. But the poor countries of the South which are mired in poverty and backwardness have vague and blurred views and perception on security. They have twin challenges as far as security is concerned. The developing countries have to allocate their scarce resources for military or hard security to defend their national boundary and maintain territorial integrity, which often bleeds their national exchequer, as it was their prime responsibility to defend country’s independent and sovereign status. On the other, they have even bigger challenge to maintain people’s security by ensuring the access to minimum basic needs requiring huge fund which they often lack . This situation has often created security dilemma in the most of the developing countries.
As far as Nepal’s security strategy is concerned, survival is the key. Ever since Nepal emerged as a nation state, survival has been the uppermost strategy. Various tactics and tricks were applied to maintain its sovereign status. In the beginning, Nepal was in the expansionist spree which came to an end following its headlong collision with the British imperialist power in South Asia. In the war with British India in 1814-16, Nepal lost sizable portion of its territory and was forced to sign a victor-imposed accord called the Sugauli Treaty, which defined Nepal’s boundary. Prior to the Sugauli Treaty, Nepal’s sole strategy was to expand its territory and maintain control over the newly conquered areas, which can also be its security strategy. In other words, the pre-war security strategy of Nepal had been the expansionist one.
After the Sugauli Treaty, Nepal’s scope of expansion of its territory as well as its influence came to a halt, following which Nepal strictly adopted survival strategy by appeasing the British colonial rulers in India.  The rulers defined Nepal’s geo-political situation as the ‘yam between the two boulders’ and they are repeating the same old rhetoric even today as far as the definition and concept of Nepal’s security is concerned. This implies that Nepal does not have any scope for widening its influence and reaching out beyond its border defined by the Sugauli Treaty. Similarly, Nepal has officially declared ‘eqi-distance policy’ for its survival, which means Nepal should keep both the neighbors in the South and the north at certain but equal distance. But this quasi equi-distance policy remained only in theory but never translated into practice. After the Sugauli Treaty till this date, Nepal’s policy has been, rightly or wrongly, India-centric in practice.
Nepal’s rulers always adopted ingratiating and sycophantic policy with India just to keep hold on power.  Nepal never adopted national security doctrine as such. As a result, Nepal’s national interests and its sovereign status have sometimes come under threat. With the epochal change taken place after the Jana Andolan II in 2006, many have realized the necessity of a new national security doctrine and its sincere execution. However, the government has not been able to come up with such a national security doctrine in a unanimous way.
Now it is high time that Nepal adopts national security strategy and defines the necessary tools to execute it in clearer and specific manner. There is no shade of doubt that survival and prosperity should be the paramount basis and priority of the national security doctrine of Nepal. Based on broad but specific analysis of threats, both perceived and real threats including physical threat to its sovereignty, independence, national unity and territorial integrity as well as the security of the people including freedom from fear and freedom from want, Nepal needs to frame a national security strategy and policy to cope with the modern security complexities in the changed national and international situation. There are multiple threats to Nepal’s overall security emanating both from outside and from within the country. While determining security, all aspects and possible threats must be taken into consideration and strategy should accordingly be adopted in order to counter such threat. These threats could be physical and military; economic, cultural and political. The security strategy of a country depends upon the nature, behavior, economic and military strength of the neighbor. If the neighbor is hostile, one has to be prepared militarily. But in the present globalized world, military alone is not a threat. Economic and cultural invasions are more powerful than military onslaught, against which countries especially the smaller, weaker and poorer ones must be cautious. In the case of Nepal, these issues must be taken into serious consideration and accordingly its security threat should be determined and a national security strategy devised in order to maintain security of the state as well as its citizens.

Nepal and Shanghai Cooperation Organization


Yuba Nath Lamsal
With yet another powerful and resourceful regional organization taking shape and wielding influence and clout in its neighborhood, Nepal needs to enter into Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and make its best utilization to further boost Nepal’s strategic value and security interest. Viewed as the counterweight to the NATO expansion and consolidation, the Western countries are taking this regional group as their security threat.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a regional group given shape at the initiative of China way back in 1996. The organization was originally called the ‘Shanghai Five’ as China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan met in Shanghai of China in 1996 to discuss mutual cooperation mainly on issues concerning settlement of border disputes in a peaceful manner and largely to demilitarize the border mainly between China and the countries of former Soviet Union. In 2001, the organization added Uzbekistan and renamed itself the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Mongolia was awarded an observer status in 2004. Similarly, Iran, Pakistan, and India became observers the following year. The SCO signed memoranda of understanding with ASEAN and the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2005.Afghanistan has recently been admitted to the group as an observer. With the Afghanistan’s admission, three SAARC members are now in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The SCO is growing slowly but steadily which has already made significant impact on several issues encompassing regional and international security, trade, culture and other issues. With each passing year, the members and observers are focusing more on cooperative efforts in trade, culture and security affairs, which may have irked the Western countries mainly the United States of America as it was seen as a threat to  their influence and domination in the world in general and the Asia and the Pacific in particular. Given the nature, its organizational structure and activities do not appear to be confrontational but merely focused on mutual cooperation in the region and this is definitely an initiative to collectively counter the Western in the Asia and the Pacific region, if necessary.
Unlike NATO, the SCO by no means intends to be a military bloc, which has been made clear right from its beginning. It intends to forge unity among the countries in the region demonstrating common interests and concerns regarding global and regional political affairs. More importantly, the SCO is the basic framework arrangement for the member countries for their common security and settlement of border disputes in a peaceful and amicable manner. China and the Soviet Union had border disputes in certain points, which some Central Asian countries have inherited after they attained the status of separate independent countries. China, too, was eager to resolve these issues once and for all in a friendly manner so that they could be engaged more on mutual cooperation on issues concerning trade and development. China is worried for possible infiltration of terrorist, separatist and fundamentalist elements through some Central Asian countries, which are predominantly Muslim populated areas, that may try to create disturbances in some of its southwestern parts of Xinjiang. With proper management and surveillance of borders with them, China wants to make sure that its security and order may be maintained in some of its provinces. Begun with this modest objective, the SCO has now grown a strategic group which can ultimately emerge as a powerful regional bloc to counter the US domination in the Asia and the Pacific region.
The twelfth summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) took place in Beijing in June this year. In this summit, the group pledged to work more closely with the Afghan government on security and other issues, without providing details. The meeting's main emphasis was on "regional security," laying out a plan for the strategic and medium-term development of the SCO and a "Mechanism of Response to Events Jeopardizing Regional Peace, Security and Stability."
Until the existence of Soviet Union, the world was unipolar, which had, to some extent, maintained check and balance in the international power politics. With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the international order took a paradigm shift. After the end of the Cold War, the U.S. emerged as the lone superpower and did its best to take advantage of the situation and ensure its sole domination in the world. Other Western countries and powerful states have also been trying to use this turbulent period to their advantage.
It had been thought that the end of the Cold War would bring about peace and stability in the world. In fact, the Cold War ended but wars did not come to an end. More inter-state and intra-state wars have been fought and more people were killed after the end of the Cold War than during the Cold War. Unfortunately, people have felt more insecure after the collapse of the Soviet bloc and it gave rise to some more contradictions and conflicts.  This situation was also reflected in the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now this scenario seems to be a temporary phenomenon and the world is getting multi-polar soon. Some new powers have emerged and some are emerging clearly posing a serious challenge to the US domination. China has emerged as the second largest economy and a military power. Russia is also remerging and trying to regain its lost image. Against this background, the formation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an attempt to collectively resist unnecessary and unfounded domination, pressure and threat of the Western World mainly the United States. Some Western analysts and the media often describe the SCO as the "Eastern bloc," " or the "NATO of the East”, this organization seems to be basically economic bloc aimed at fostering economic cooperation and collaboration. Unlike the NATO, the SCO is definitely not a military organization but it collectively resists any kind of military adventure that the NATO ever tries to make.
Soon after its formation, this organization has attracted interest of several countries in Asia and the Pacific including India, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia. Some more countries are watching its activities more closely so that they may opt to join it. Although the SCO is not a military bloc but cooperative regional initiative to promote peace, this group is now being seen as a counterbalancing force, which is likely to gain more strength and popularity in future.
In the past decade, the SCO consolidated its position as a more economic grouping than the military alliance. There have already been mutual multi-billion-dollar investments, particularly by China, in infrastructure developments like construction of roads, railways, airports, hydro-electric power stations, mining, gas wells and petroleum pipelines and banking sector. Similarly, relationship among the member countries in general and between China and Russia have strengthened, which signals a new beginning in the collective security and meaningful cooperation among the members.
China needs the Central Asian nation and countries of the Caspian Sea regions for energy supplies. Some pipeline works for the supply of oil right from the Middle East and Central Asia to China have been completed, one in the final phase of competition. More pipeline works are expected to undertake very soon. Upon completion of pipeline works, energy supply to China would be easier and cheaper that would immensely contribute to China’s economic growth and development on the one hand and strengthen the relations between the Central Asian countries and China, on the other. Moreover, it will make China less dependent on supplies of oil and energy from the Middle East, which is predominantly controlled by the United States. In order to facilitate trade with the Central Asian countries and transport of goods to and from Central Asian countries, China has already developed huge infrastructure projects in the Xinjiang province which border with several central Asian countries.
Pakistan and India both want closer ties with the SCO. Turkey, too, has shown keen interest in joining this group, although it also a NATO member. The United States requester for SCO membership, but US application was rejected. This is the manifestation of growing strategic and economic implication and significance in the world. Since the SCO is not a military bloc but an economic cooperation forum, it would bode well if Nepal takes initiative to enter into this organization. Although located in a strategically vital location, Nepal has so far not been able to use its strategic position for its benefit. Since three of the eight members of the SAARC have already joined the SCO, Nepal, too, needs to follow suit. Entry into the SCO would further strengthen Nepal’s strategic position and would help Nepal to come out of unnecessary India’s influence and domination.