‘Nepal can adopt ‘look south’ policy’

Kathmandu, July 31 

Bharatiya Janata Party National General Secretary and India Foundation Director Ram Madhav today suggested that Nepal could adopt ‘look south’ policy to avail immense benefits the Indian Ocean offers.

Stating that oceans have proven lifeline for countries across the globe, he said ports in India’s Kolkata and Bangladesh’s Chittagong that offer access to the Indian Ocean offered huge trade prospects to a landlocked country like Nepal.

And not only Nepal, it could also be beneficial for China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, said Madhav at Nepal-India Think

Tank Summit organised jointly by Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs and Nehru Memorial Museum Library in Kathmandu.

According to Madhav, Nepal and India are just not two countries, but two great civilisations, and are connected by three Cs—culture, commerce and connectivity.

Stating that India had always been extending full support to Nepal for strengthening democracy, he said stability was key to the success of democracy. “India sees stable Nepal as beneficial to its interests,” he said. Madhav also said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy was all about shared prosperity and sovereign equality.

Among the deficiencies in Nepal-India relations, according to Madhav, were lack of knowledge about each other. He suggested that both the countries develop new institutions for knowledge building.

On the occasion, former prime minister and Nepal Communist Party Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal said economic development and prosperity were the government’s central focus. Stating that Nepal could no longer afford to remain poor, he said prosperity could not be achieved in isolation, but it was an outcome of shared efforts.

According to Dahal, connectivity is key to development, especially for landlocked countries like Nepal, and connectivity must be understood in broader sense as enabler of strong relations.

Dahal also said neighbourhood diplomacy was at the centre of Nepal’s foreign policy outreaches, and the government believed in non-interference in internal matters. “Neighbours should respect each other’s aspirations and sensitivities,”

he said. He also said that bilateral mechanisms were actively engaged as per the direction of two PMs for strengthening Nepal-India relations that were given new impetus by Oli’s India visit and Modi’s Nepal visit recently.