Government in no hurry to name new ambassador to India

Kathmandu, May 18

The government, which recalled Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay on May 6, seems to be in no hurry to name a new envoy to New Delhi, the most vital but challenging diplomatic outpost for Nepal.

Apparently, there are two main reasons for the delay. First, it’s hard to find a candidate acceptable to the major coalition partners CPN-UML, Maoists and RPP-Nepal. Secondly, the government is not sure if India will give an agreemo to Nepal regarding the proposed new envoy immediately.

Ministry of External Affairs of India has made it clear it was an ‘internal affair of Nepal’ to withdraw its envoy. But while sending a new envoy, consent of the host nation is a must.

In recent past, India did not send agreemo of two proposed Nepali envoys Chandra Kanta Paudel and Ram Karki. Both were picked by Maoist prime ministers Paudel was named by Pushpa Kamal Dahal in 2009, while Karki’s name was proposed by Baburam Bhattarai, who was the PM in 2011.

“If India refuses to give agreemo to the new envoy, it will boomerang on India,” an aide of PM Oli told The Himalayan Times. “Therefore, a new ambassador wouldn’t be proposed just because the Indian side would give an agreemo promptly.”

Generally, the rejection doesn’t happen directly, but it is expressed by delaying the agreemo.

The PM’s foreign relations expert Gopal Khanal said it would be difficult to send a new envoy to India ‘overnight’. He, however, stated that PM Oli and Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa are of the view that envoy to India should be named before long.

According to media reports, former foreign and home minister Madhav Prasad Sharma and CPN-UML leader Pradeep Gyawali are being considered as possible candidates for the ambassadorial post.

However, the PM’s aides and foreign ministry officials termed the reports speculative.

Khanal said the government was trying to find an apolitical candidate who could “remain and work” as ambassador in New Delhi, even if the government in Kathmandu changed.

Upadhyay was appointed as ambassador to India by erstwhile Sushil Koirala-led government in April 2015. After the restoration of democracy in Nepal in 1990, only one Nepali ambassador, Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, has completed his tenure as Nepal’s ambassador to India.

Eight envoys have been recalled before completing their diplomatic assignments, mostly after a change of guard in Kathmandu.