Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nepal is not a failed state

Yuba Nath Lamsal
Some people tend to portray Nepal’s present scenario as the syndrome of a failed state. But we should not arrive at such a hasty conclusion. Before arriving at a conclusion of such a crucial question, we must analyze historical, cultural, social, political and economic dynamics of Nepal.  Given the geo-political and geo-strategic position with which Nepal has been able to survive and preserve its national and sovereign identity and status, it would be superficial to conclude that Nepal is on the verge of sliding into the status of a failed state.
It is true that Nepal’s current political situation is very fluid and in the state of flux. Almost every country in the world has experienced such an environment at certain point of history. Even the big powers of today had undergone many ups and down and situation similar to what Nepal is facing at present. The United States of America, Britain, Russia, France, Germany, China and India, came out of the dire state and ultimately emerged as global power because of their resilient people and visionary leaders. Similarly, there are many other small and poor countries in the world especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America that are facing exactly the similar situation and we cannot call them as failed states. But we cannot conclude that they have failed.
We are judging the performance of the state and qualification of a country to be a successful or failed state purely on the basis of parameters and yardstick set by the Western countries. It does not necessarily mean that the measures and methods used by Western countries to judge the success and failure of the state may be applicable globally. Different countries have their own national situation, historical perspective and cultural dimension to measure the performance of the state and its people. The Western countries are individualistic society which focus more on individual rights and liberty, whereas the Eastern countries and societies are more community based and they value more on collective and community rights and welfare. In other words, the Western concept is right-based and the oriental values are more of responsibility and duty-based. This is the fundamental differences in understanding and judging the states’ success and failure.
It is necessary to first understand the core political, social and cultural values as well as historical traditions and perspective of a given country or society and analyze these factors before arriving at a certain conclusion on the success or failure of any state. Nepal is definitely not the United States of America nor is it any European country. Its political tradition and social and cultural dynamics are also different from any other countries in Africa. Nepal is a country with a long history with an independent and sovereign status. Nepal is, perhaps, one of the oldest countries in Asia. When the entire South Asia came under British colonial rule, Nepal maintained its sovereign and independent status not by coaxing but fighting fiercely and bravely with the British colonial force. Thus, it would be unwise to make simplistic analysis and conclusion on Nepal’s ability as a state.
Nepal, thus, has a long political legacy and its own tradition—unique and different from other countries in the world. Against this background, the success and failure of Nepal as a state needs to be debated and accordingly conclusion has to be drawn. Given the dismal political and economic situation Nepal is undergoing at present is not definitely a positive trend. It is true that Nepal is in its history’s worst crisis. The Himalayan Republic has been in such a dire strait since the Anglo-Nepal War in 1914-16. But, given this situation, it would not be politically correct to arrive at a conclusion that Nepal is close to the status of a failed state.
Many pundits have based their assumptions and conclusion on the reports of some foreigners, on whose support and grant their bread and butter lies. A London-based International Peace Fund sometime back published a ‘Failed State Index’, which included Nepal among the countries that have either already become failed states or are heading towards that direction. The Index does not clearly states Nepal as being the failed state but says that Nepal is in the possibility of becoming a failed state. The main basis of its conclusion is Nepal’s ongoing political instability, poor economy and fragile security. It has further stated that Nepal would be a failed state if a new constitution was not promulgated in time and on-going political process not concluded to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
There is no shade of doubt that if political, social, constitutional and security related problems are not resolved, they may give rise to newer problems, which one day may lead the country towards the status of a failed state. But the condition through which Nepal is passing is manageable and would be managed. Nepal has experienced such crises and problems on various occasions in the past as well and it tactfully and successfully handled all the crises. The present crisis, too, would be handled and resolved successfully because Nepal as a state has capability and credibility to tackle its own problems.
If we analyze the state of affairs and political activities that have unfolded over the last two centuries in Nepal, we always find the Nepalese people resilient, optimistic and forward-looking.  The Nepalese people are often peace-loving and flexible but, when deemed necessary, they become tough and resistant. This nature of the people of Nepal has maintained the proud legacy of this Himalayan Republic. They have supported the rulers when they act at the interest of the country. It was the overwhelming support and active participation of the people belonging to different ethnicities, castes and creeds that made the unification of Nepal possible. For the just cause of the country, people have always extended support to the rulers. But when the rulers turned dictator and acted against the interest of the people and the country, Nepalese people have always risen against the authoritarian regimes and rulers. The 1951 revolution, the 1990 political movement and Jana Andolan II of 2005-6 are its example. Nepalese people launched two successful revolutions—one in 1951 and the other one in 2006. In 1951, the century old Rana’s oligarchic rule was overthrown by the revolutionary strength of the people. The 240 year-old feudal monarchy was abolished in 2006. The situation prior to the Jana Andolan II was also not different from the one we have experienced at present. There was a civil war between the feudal state and the revolutionary Maoist insurgents. Political pundits both at home and abroad had portrayed the picture that Nepal was soon becoming a failed state but they were proved wrong by the people of Nepal. The similar situation has arisen at present and people may rise anytime against those responsible for the present abysmal condition of the country.
Nepal as a country or state has not failed but parties and rulers have miserably failed. Also the political systems we adopted at different interval of our history have failed. Ranas failed so did their oligarchic rule. Panchayat failed which ultimately led to the Shah monarchy’s downfall and abolition. The Jana Andolan II not only dumped the monarchical system into the trash of history but also marked a departure from the traditional parliamentary system and brought in the radical agenda of the Maoists. With the formal agreement to go beyond the traditional parliamentary system, the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML lost the political ground to have their presence felt in Nepali politics. The result of the last Constituent Assembly election was its reflection. However, the radical agenda of the Maoists, too, were not allowed to be institutionalized by the coalition of traditional and status quoist forces. The present political standoff is the result of the conflict of these two traditional and radical forces.
This standoff is not likely to remain for a long time. The global experiences have shown that the old and outdated ideas and systems have always been dislodged and replaced by the new and revolutionary ideas and concepts. This is the law of nature as well as the spirit of evolutionary theory. Thus, the radical politics are more likely to replace the traditional system and accordingly revolutionary forces would be established in Nepali politics. Thus, the present situation is not the syndrome of a failed state but a political labor pain to give birth to a new, innovative and radical change.

LDP’s return to power in Japan

Yuba Nath Lamsal
The keenly watched parliamentary election of Japan was held in December 16 in which the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a thumping majority to form the government of its own. The return of the LDP to power in Japan marks a sea change not only in Japanese policies, but also in the international politics. The election had been seen as a fight between liberals and conservatives in Japanese politics. The victory of conservative LDP signals that Tokyo is likely to adopt ultra-rightist policies at home, while in the international front the new government may join the bandwagon of Western Hawkish club and bring more tension in the Asia and the Pacific region. In other words, the results of recent Japan’s general election mark the return of the agenda of 1930 decade—nationalism and militarism. The determination that the LDP has made public during the election and earlier that Tokyo would be more assertive in Asia and also in the world to protect its pride and interest by applying every means possible, including the military force. This indicates that Asia and the Pacific region is likely to see more tension especially between Japan and China on issues pertaining to the ownership over some disputed territories in the South China and East China Sea. Once the tension flares up between Beijing and Tokyo, it is likely to create further fissures in the entire region as there are already conflicts on territorial claims between China and some other East Asian countries.
LDP leader Shinzo Abe has already spoken tough language and is expected to take a hard line response in the territorial dispute with Beijing over the islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Abe declared that the Senkakus were part of “Japan’s inherent territory” and warned that “our objective is to stop the challenge” from China. But Beijing contradicted it saying that the disputed islands historically belonged to China. Given the overture of Beijing’s officials, China is prepared to do everything possible to have 'its territories back’. However, Beijing seems to be well aware of the consequences if tension flared up in the region. Thus, China has already asked the new Japanese leadership to tone down its rhetoric and be practical in resolving the issues on territorial disputes on the basis of historical evidences.
During the election campaign, the LDP had promised that it, if voted to power, would start building some permanent structures on the uninhabited but disputed islands. This move, if at all taken place, would definitely but dramatically worsen relations between China and Japan. A tense situation already exists in the East China Sea after the present Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) government “nationalized” the islets in September. Last week, the Japanese military fighter jets hovered around and close to the disputed areas ostensibly, as some Japanese media reported, to intercept a Chinese maritime surveillance plane that entered the airspace around the islands. These moves had been taken by the DPJ government to woo voters in view of growing nationalist sentiment of Japanese over the simmering dispute with China on territorial claims. The LDP and its leader Abe responded with more hawkish and nationalist posture and promised to deal firmly, if necessary, to restore Japanese prestige and pride both at national as well as international level. If need be, Japan would resort to militarism to protect its interest in the region and international arena.
With both Beijing and Tokyo whipping up nationalism, the countries and people in the region are more skeptical about their fate. Western hawkish regimes, which are already panicked by the projection of Asian century with countries like China and Japan leading the world, are trying to find an opportune time to flare up tension in order to have their dominant role in Asia and the Pacific region intact so that their rise in the global stage would be kept on check. These Western powers, which are self-portraying themselves as the messiah of global security and peace, are instigating some countries in the region to cross sword against one another with the objective of engaging the Asian powers in regional conflict. There is already widespread public disaffection and anger over deteriorating living standards in the West for the last few years following a global economic crisis. Washington, London and their Allies are fabricating conflict in the region to divert public attention. History is witness that Western economies are war-fed. Western economies boom at the time of war and they contract during peace time. War in other region is at the interest of the Western powers and that is the reason behind the war in Iraq, Middle-East, Afghanistan and Africa. If war breaks out and tension flares up anywhere in the world, it opens up a good market for their fatal weapons by which their economies prosper. China and Japan are economic super powers. If these two Asian giants were kept engaged in regional conflict, they would not be able to challenge in global politics. Against this background the conflict in the Asia and the Pacific is being propped up.
The conflict has its internal dimension, too. The rightist rulers in Japan have deliberately and purposefully raised the specter of nationalism with calculated thought out tactics of diverting the attention of Japanese people from economic slump and unemployment problem to issues concerning dispute over territories. Both the DPJ and LDP are putting extra-efforts to portray the picture that Japan is close to war with the objective of pacifying public frustration and dissatisfaction over the performance of the rulers. Japanese economy has already gone into recession for the fifth time in 15 years with Japanese exports being hit hard by shrieking markets in the US, Europe and China. After two decades of economic stagnation, Japan has lost its image of world’s second largest economy. China has replaced Japan as the world’s second largest economy and Japan’s power and position is likely to further erode as some other countries are coming up as global economic power.
Abe is not trying to restore Japan’s image but to re-establish his party with the agenda of “new LDP” or ‘hawkish LDP’.  It remains to be seen how far he would be able to succeed in his mission and objective. But one thing is sure that Japan is now slowly moving back to militarism—a departure of its long-cherished policy since the end of the World War II. After humiliating and disastrous defeat in the World War II at the hands of the United States, Japan gave up its military adventure and instead it focused more on economic reconstruction and development with the United States taking over the responsibility of Japan’s security. As a result, Japan emerged as the economic super power within a short span of time. Now other Asian countries especially China are emerging as economic and military powers posing serious threat to the domination of the Western countries in general and the United States in particular in the Asia and the Pacific region.
China and Japan have always been Asian powers and competitors. It is natural for the two powers to clash, which has been proven by history. Even in the past, clash of interest had occurred between China and Japan. In the decade of 1930s, Japan had also been hit hard by the slump in world trade, and had plunged into deep economic and political crisis. The militarist regime in Tokyo sought to overcome Japan’s economic malaise through wars for markets and raw materials. For this, Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and China as a whole in 1937. The military occupation of China greatly exacerbated tensions with the United States, which had its own interests in China. This clash of interest between the United States and Japan led to the Pacific War in 1941.
Now Japan is in the similar crisis whereas its competitor is different. In the 1930s, Japan’s competitor was the United States. Now China is Japan’s economic competitor. Thus, Japan has raised the specter of militarism against China in possible collaboration with the United States. But both Japan and China would be the loser if tension breaks out between these two Asian neighbors. In such an eventuality, only the extra-continental power will benefit.

Friday, December 21, 2012

State, Revolution And Authoritarianism

Yuba Nath Lamsal
The state is in itself an authoritarian institution. The state can never be democratic—whether it is in Nepal or elsewhere including Europe and the United States that boast to have the best democratic system and institutions. The nature of the state usually is to rule on people and make people obey its decisions and diktats quietly and in a docile manner. It is said that the state can never act for the interests of the general mass. But it is the popular movement and pressure that make the states accept and respect people’s rights and freedom.
Nowhere in the world has there been any example where rulers have voluntarily relinquished power. Only popular pressures have forced the tyrants to bow down paving the way for participatory democracy in the world with full realization of individual liberty and rights in participating in governance and decision-making of the state. Rights and freedom do not come without sacrifice and costs. People must make sacrifice for their rights and freedom.
The history tells us that nothing can be achieved without costs. People must pay certain costs for rights and liberty. History is witness that changes have never been brought about peacefully. The French Revolution which is a standard bearer of the Western and capitalist model of political change, too, was violent that saw the use of force. In England too, much sacrifice had to be made by its people. Even a king was beheaded in England for rights and liberty. The United States would not have been created without the American War of Independence, which was a declared war by the American people against the British occupiers. A large number of people were killed and injured in this war, which ultimately came in favor of the struggling people of America who attained independence from the British colonial rule. This newly found freedom of the United States came with a huge price tag and sacrifice of the people. But nothing is comparable to human liberty and self-rule. With winning the American War of Independence, American people charted out their own destiny and destination.
There are many other countries in the world which saw violence and use of force for change, freedom and democracy.  In another form of use of force was the Russian model in which peasants and proletariats raised arms against the feudal state of Czars. The Russian people finally triumphed in October 1917, which is also known as the October Revolution. This was an organized armed revolution under Marxist theory, which propagates armed struggle for political change and establishment of the people’s government. Russia is the first country where Marxism had been applied in practice for the first time in history. Vladimir I Lenin was the leader of the October Revolution, who not only applied Marxism for social change in Russia but also developed Marxism into Marxism-Leninism. Following Russia’s success, Chinese Revolution led Mao Zedong was launched against feudal and imperialist-backed Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang regime. China was liberated following a long war based on the model slightly different from that of Russia. Lenin in Russia basically mobilized people and launched armed insurrection mostly in urban areas, whereas Mao’s model was strictly rural guerilla warfare. Lenin’s and Mao’s political philosophy was based on Marxism. But their approaches to accomplishing their goals and completing revolution were slightly different. Also they adopted slightly different approaches in implementing Marxism in their respective countries with some modifications and changes as per their national context. While Marxism was developed as Marxism-Leninism in Russia after October Revolution, it was further developed into Marxism-Leninism-Maoism/Mao Thought in China.
After the end of Second World War, the world saw a wave of national liberation movement. Armed revolutions were launched in different countries in Russian and Chinese model and they succeeded. Countries like, Vietnam and Cuba along with several others in Asia, Africa and Latin America attained national liberation and established communist regimes.  In our own neighborhood, the independent movement had been picking up in the entire South Asia. Although India’s frontrunner leader of the independence movement Mohandas Karmachanda Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, had propagated peaceful and non-violent struggle with the objective of ejecting British colonial rulers from India, there had already been some armed insurgencies and insurrections in different parts of South Asia. The perception and perspective of the independent movement in South Asia were diverse and dissimilar. Gandhi, who is known as Mahatma for his simplicity and sagacity, and his team including Jawaharlal Nehru viewed the goal of the independence struggle to just throw out British colonial rulers and give continuity to social, political, economic and cultural structure of the Indian society. Another freedom fighter Mohammad Ali Jinnah and his backers had different vision and views. Jinnah wanted a state based on religious identity. This different perceptions and perspective ultimately divided the movement and created two nations—Hindustan and Pakistan—out of the British ruled India. Apart from Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah, there were other freedom fighters in South Asia who had envisioned different scenario. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan was an Afghan freedom fighter who fought for a pan-South Asia which meant a grand country incorporating the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and also some parts of Myanmar. Subash Chandra Bose was India’s revolutionary fighter, who had organized armed revolution, not only for driving the British away but also for establishing a revolutionary communist regime in the entire South Asia. With this in mind, Bose had created a revolutionary army in India and also had been in touch with revolutionary organizations in other countries. Unfortunately, he became the target of both British imperialists and domestic reactionaries and was killed in a mysterious plane crash, which remains an unresolved mystery even today.
While Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah alike favored status quo minus British rule in South Asia, Subash Chandra Bose was fighting for a revolutionary and radical change. With Bose’ demise, the revolutionary and armed struggle in India got a jolt and ultimately the status quoist forces prevailed and triumphed in South Asia. As a result, the Indian independence movement ended in compromise with status quoist leaders agreeing to power sharing based on two-nation theory brokered by last British ruler Mountbatten. The class structure of the society in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan has remained unchanged with feudal and capitalist forces having overwhelming domination over hundreds of millions people.
A revolution is described as a clash between the people and power. This may not be correctly defined because defenseless people can never fight with the state backed by well-trained armed troops and equipped with fatal and sophisticated weapons. That is the reason why Karl Marx has advocated armed revolution to overthrow the armed reactionary regime and seize power.  The revolution is, hence, a clash of two armed forces in which the revolutionary forces win because they command support of the people. Any kind revolution, be it bourgeois or communist/ socialist, is violent. There is no instance in the world where peaceful protests have ever brought about radical changes. Peaceful struggle is a status quoist movement which seeks cosmetic changes and such movements often end up in compromise and power sharing between the old and the new forces. Even in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and currently Syria, where movements are building up seeking regime changes, the movements are not peaceful. Only armed struggle could overthrow Colonel Gaddaffi of Libya and Syria’s Assad is also not likely to be deposed peacefully. Peaceful revolution is a subject to be preached but not to be practices if genuine changes and political restructuring are to be effected.  All revolutions are, therefore, violent. Even in India where Mahatma Gandhi preached peaceful and non-violent campaign, Indian independence movement was not completely a non-violent and peace. Instead, it was an assorted campaign combined with both peaceful and violent struggle.
As far as Nepal’s movements are concerned, two major revolutions were violent that brought about systemic change. The 1951 revolution was an armed revolution that brought about systemic change although it, too, ended up in compromise giving continuity to the Rana oligarchic regime. Had it not been armed revolution, the Rana would not have agreed to relinquish their control over power. The 1990 movement was a peaceful one as its fundamental objective was not systemic and structural change but power sharing. The political parties that led the 1990 movement namely he Nepali Congress and the United Left Front did not want any systemic change but space and share in power under monarchy. The 2005-6 movement was, to an extent, an assorted revolution of parliamentary parties’ peaceful movement in the urban areas and a decade-long Maoist armed insurgency. Had the Maoists’ armed force not behind, the 2005-6 movement or Jana Andolan II, too, may not have succeeded so quickly and easily.
It is neither intended to advocate violence nor does it totally rules out the possibility of changes without weapons. People are the most powerful agents for change. The armed revolution or struggle san people’s support can never succeed. The reactionaries and ultra-rightists often dub the revolution as an act of terrorism. The monarchy, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and some other rightist parties had done the same in Nepal when Maoists’ armed insurgency was at its height. The monarchy and the parliamentary forces had declared bounty on the heads of some senior Maoist leaders including Prachanda and the Present Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. Authoritarianism is, therefore, a tendency of the state but it can be kept in check only by popular consciousness and collective endeavors. Mere jockeying for power neither keeps tab on the state from going into authoritarian path nor does it facilitates in delivering goods to the people.

Diplomatic demeanor in Nepal

Yuba Nath Lamsal
 The issue concerning the observance of the diplomatic code of conduct has come to the fore more openly and prominently in recent days. This issue has come to the light especially after the Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who also holds the portfolio of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke more loudly in public objecting to the meeting between the President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and a leader of India’s ruling Congress party, Karan Singh, without prior information to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  If this was the case, Nepal’s president has definitely breached diplomatic norms, for which the Head of State must either clarify it before the people stating the reasons and circumstances or apologize expressing his commitment not to repeat it any longer in future. If the accusation of the Deputy Prime Minister was not true, the President still has to make it clear in public so that people will judge who is right and who is wrong. In both the way, people want explanation from the president.
It is true that every responsible citizen must observe the diplomatic code of conduct and protocol. This is more so with the people holding public position, who should demonstrate highest quality of human dignity and culture. If norms, values and public disciplines are violated by the people holding public position, people have every right to question about the morality of their leaders and officials to continue in the public posts. Moreover, the country and the people become law binding only when the people with public position strictly respect laws of the land and norms, values and social demeanor.
The issue that the Deputy Prime Minister has raised is definitely a praiseworthy one. The Head of the State is generally role model whose conducts are watched and scrutinized by the people as a whole and may be followed by the people. If the Head of State, knowingly or unknowingly, breaches the social, administrative and diplomatic norms and code, it definitely sends a negative message to the people.
This is not the first time that our leaders and officials have crossed the diplomatic boundary and code especially when meeting with foreigners. Many political leaders of the country have been found to have violated the diplomatic code of conduct one way or the others at different time and on different occasions. The leaders do not often have time to meet the people but do not miss the functions and meetings organized by foreigners and foreign-funded NGOs and INGOs. The leaders and officials even do not take the protocol into consideration while meeting with foreigners including the people working with intelligence agencies of other countries and attending the functions organized by foreigners and their pet organizations. It has been reported in the media that some leaders visit embassy on regular basis ostensibly either to seek support or pass country’s information, both secret and otherwise. Nothing can be bigger national humiliation than this.
This is not only a breach of diplomatic code of conduct but also a crime punishable by law. Leaders and officials can meet with foreigners but it should be strictly for official purpose. People holding public positions have little in private when it comes to meeting and dealing with the foreigners. Whatever people in public position speak and discuss with foreigners becomes public. Since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is responsible for dealing and establishing and maintaining contacts and communications with foreigners, public figures must inform the MoFA in advance the proposed meeting with the foreigners. If possible, it would do well if officials of the MoFA are present in such meetings.
In other countries including our immediate neighbors, meeting with foreigners and officials of foreign missions and attending functions organized by foreigners must be informed to the foreign office in advance and get clearance from the concerned office. There are instances that people sneaking into missions of other countries and meeting with foreigners without permission from the foreign office or higher officials have been punished in other countries including India and China. Even ordinary citizen is not allowed to visit mission of other countries without valid reason and without permission. Meeting with foreigners by people holding public position without prior permission from the foreign office and without information to foreign office is considered as a violation of law and is subject to legal action. In some countries such actions are treated as treason and accordingly dealt. But this has not been strictly followed in Nepal.
If the meeting between our President and Indian leader Karan Singh without prior information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is true, it is definitely a breach of code, which is a matter of serious concern. This is, of course, the duty of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to monitor and bring into notice the issue concerning the observance of diplomatic code and protocol and its violation. But the way the issue has been raised is also not diplomatically correct. Person of a stature like Deputy Prime Minister publicly raised this issue and made hue and cry in public. This issue should have been dealt quietly and settled. Moreover, President is not the first person to violate the code of conduct. Similarly, the Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha’s gun of accusation has also been pointed to the Prime Minister for the same mistake and shortcoming in strictly abiding by the diplomatic code of conduct.  It is true that all leaders and officials must strictly obey and respect the set rules and accepted norms concerning diplomatic code and protocol. However, only a very few people holding public position would be found to have strictly respected the diplomatic code and protocol especially when it comes to meeting the dignitaries and leaders mainly from our Southern neighbor India and some Western powers. Our leaders seem to rush to meet the officials of the above said countries and attending their function, no matter whatever the rule of diplomatic protocol. Thus, the diplomatic code and protocol must be abided by all and more by those who hold the top offices including the President, Prime Ministers and Ministers.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, unveiled in 2011 a written code of conduct to be followed by Nepali diplomats as well as others holding public positions. The very preamble of the Diplomatic Code of Conduct states:  With the objective of conducting the official meetings, contacts, negotiations and communications of the Government of Nepal with foreign governments, international
Organizations, their representatives and other officials in a more systematic and dignified
manner consistent with diplomatic norms and international practices, this Diplomatic Code of
Conduct has hereby been issued as per the Cabinet decision of the Government of Nepal.
The Code in its Article 4.1 clearly states: “Ministers of the Government of Nepal or officials of the constitutional bodies or other senior officials should invite representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other related ministries while meeting ministers, ambassadors or
senior government officials of foreign governments. The representative of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs should prepare the record of talks held on those
occasions. In case of the inability of the representative of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs to be present in the meeting because of short notice or other special
reasons, the agency concerned should make available to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs summary report of the talks and the matters discussed during the
meeting. Likewise, summary report of meetings, contacts and discussions held
by officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be sent to the Office of the
Prime Minister and Council of Ministers.”
Although the code of conduct does not clearly say anything about the President and the Prime Minister, they too, by implication, are required to abide by the diplomatic rules and protocol. Since they hold the high office, both President and the Prime should maintain diplomatic protocol and observe rule more than others. If the President and the Prime Minister violate the rule, it would encourage other to follow suit, which would ultimately bring national disgrace in the international community. The tendency to ingratiate the officials of some powerful countries for personal and partisan benefit must be discouraged. The national image and prestige has often been damaged due to such behavior of some leaders and officials in recent days. Diplomatic decorum and protocol are not the issue to be politicking but strictly observed in order to maintain and uphold national prestige both at home and abroad. The people in the highest position need to show the way to others on issue concerning decorum, discipline and norms. Our leaders including the President, the Prime Minister and the ministers are expected to show the highest level of diplomatic and moral demeanor. Diplomatic demeanor is, thus, to be shown in practice rather than talking it for public consumption and cheap popularity.