Bairagi hopeful standoff with India will end soon

Kathmandu, December 10

Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi today said he was hopeful of an early normalisation of the current diplomatic standoff with India, which surfaced following promulgation of the new constitution in late September.

In a closed-door discussion with a select group of journalists at his office, Secretary Bairagi also sought media’s help to normalise the situation. “Apart from making efforts through official channels, we have also been taking unofficial measures to normalise the situation,” he added.

According to him, the government was also planning to send separate delegations of lawmakers, civil society representatives, media as well as the business community to India to help remove misunderstandings.

Accepting the government’s diplomatic failure in such a crisis situation, he assured that initiatives would be taken to set up an exclusive external-publicity division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote public diplomacy.

He also said that the ministry was taking steps to strengthen the country’s diplomatic missions, but shared that they had failed to achieve desired results due to lack of resources.

“We get less than 0.6 percent of the total budget,” the foreign secretary said. “This is just enough to carry out our regular work.”