‘Gurkhas a vital link for boosting Nepal-UK relations’

Kathmandu, June 13

Nepal and the United Kingdom have acknowledged the long and distinguished service of Gurkhas in the British Army, and recognised Gurkhas as a vital link in strengthening bilateral relations.

“Going forward, both sides agreed to continue discussion on Gurkha matters,” read a joint communiqué issued today on the occasion of the visit to the UK by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli from June 10 to 12.

According to the communiqué agreed by Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the UK Jeremy Hunt and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, the two sides discussed shared objectives to strengthen trade and investment relations between Britain and Nepal, in line with Nepal’s ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ agenda.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and MoFA agreed on the important contribution the UK makes to supporting Nepal’s economic development as the country’s largest bilateral donor. Looking ahead, Nepal agreed to seek to improve the environment for inward investment and the UK would provide support to encourage potential investors to invest in Nepal.

“To help deliver this, both sides noted the progress made in negotiations on Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, and agreed the aim was to implement it by 2020. Going forward, the UK welcomed Nepal’s desire to obtain sovereign rating working with UK financial institutions,” read the joint communiqué.

Both sides acknowledged Nepal’s efforts to graduate from least developed country status at an early date and achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030. The FCO agreed to a strong development partnership that continued to support Nepal’s development efforts under the new polity.

The MoFA, on behalf of the Government of Nepal, appreciated DFID’s work in helping the Nepali people, including after the 2015 earthquakes through the National Reconstruction Authority. Going forward, both governments recognised each other’s strong leadership on climate change issues and agreed to work together, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to tackle this challenge, according to the statement.

The FCO and MoFA agreed on the importance of supporting international rules-based system and multilateralism. They reiterated the commitment of their governments to protecting and promoting human rights in line with international norms and standards, noting that both countries were on the UN Human Rights Council.

Looking ahead, both sides agreed to focus on tackling human trafficking. Nepal acknowledged the British prime minister’s leadership of, and commitment to, this agenda. The FCO welcomed Nepal’s ambition to ratify the Palermo Protocol in 2019 and the two sides agreed to work together on this issue, including through DFID’s work in Nepal.

Both sides expressed commitment to freedom of expression and media freedom in line with their laws and regulations.  The UK side informed that UK and Canada would host Media Freedom conference in London in July 2019 and requested Nepal’s participation.

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to building on ‘our strong and enduring partnership’. They welcomed efforts to bring young Nepali and British people closer together, welcoming the work of the British Council, which they were pleased was celebrating its 60th anniversary in Nepal.

They agreed that other educational initiatives, including the work by UK universities offering degrees in Nepal, the Chevening Scholarship Programme and the British Government’s Girls Education projects in Nepal, would support Nepal’s development. The UK welcomed Nepal’s official recognition of UK A-Level qualifications.

“The two sides agreed to build on the broad and robust foundation of our past, for an even stronger relationship to tackle issues that matter to us both in the future,” stated the joint communiqué.