Nepal | July 08, 2020

‘MCC, Indo-Pacific Strategy not linked’

Foreign Minister Gyawali says Nepal won’t be part of any strategic alliance

Roshan S Nepal
Share Now:

Kathmandu, June 2

Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali today said the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Programme and United States Indo-Pacific Strategy were two different things, and that there was no need to link them together.

Gyawali’s assertion comes less than three weeks after a visiting US State Department official said Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact programme was one of the most important initiatives being implemented in Nepal under the US Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Visiting Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asia at the US Department of State David J Ranz had told a group of journalists on May 14 that the MCC Compact would not only provide critically needed infrastructure to boost Nepal’s energy sector, but also boost regional connectivity — a crucial goal of the Indo Pacific Strategy.

US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry had also told a group of journalists on February 25 that the MCC Compact was completely established in the principles that underscored the Indo-Pacific Strategy. He had said that the MCC was an example of how Indo-Pacific Strategy played out in real terms.

However, Gyawali said Nepal interpreted the MCC Compact as a development partnership, and nothing else.

Negotiation process for the MCC Compact partnership had begun in 2014; Nepal formally signed an agreement for $500 million assistance in 2017. US President Donald Trump coined the term Indo-Pacific Strategy later, according to Gyawali.

“It is different if all past assistances come under the Indo-Pacific Strategy. But I think there’s no need to link these two different things,” said Gyawali at a media briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today. “How the US interprets this is a different thing.”

Moreover, Indo-Pacific Strategy Report published yesterday by the United States Department of Defence has stated that the US seeks to expand its defence relationship with Nepal, focused on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, peacekeeping operations, defence professionalisation, ground force capacity and counter-terrorism.

“Our growing defence partnership can be seen in the establishment of the US Army Pacific-led Land Forces Talks in June 2018, our senior-most military dialogue with Nepal. This year has already seen several senior-level visits to Nepal by US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) commander and deputy assistant secretary of defence for South and Southeast Asia to further advance our defence relationship,” read the report.

According to the report, the US is working to operationalise its major defence partnership with India, while pursuing emerging partnerships with Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The report states that the Indo-Pacific region contributes more than one-third of all UN peacekeeping personnel, with Nepal being one of the major contributors. It states that USINDOPACOM will maintain strong regional partnerships through Global Peace Operations Initiative, whose 12 Indo-Pacific partners include Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam.

In this context, Gyawali reiterated that Nepal would never be a part of any military alliance. “This is our principled and consistent policy,” he said. “We’ll maintain friendship with all. We’ll not allow creation of a situation in which our friends develop any kind of scepticism.”

Stating that Nepal accorded highest importance to its relations with the US as a major development partner, Gyawali said there were already some military cooperation initiatives in place in areas of disaster management, skills development and training of peacekeeping personnel.

“We believe in further strengthening these existing relations,” he said. “We’ll not be a part of any strategic alliance.”

A version of this article appears in print on June 03, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Transport entrepreneurs deposit vehicle keys at banks in Pokhara

POKHARA: After failing to deposit the loan installment in the wake of extended lockdown, transport entrepreneurs handed-over vehicle keys to bank officials in Pokhara, on Monday. As many as ninety entrepreneurs associated with Prithvi Highway Bus Association handed over the keys to officials Read More...

Protecting the Economically Vulnerable Population

Kathmandu, July 7 What started as a health crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic has now unfolded into a global economic and livelihood crisis. While the ubiquitous quarantines and lockdowns may have saved many lives and provided an additional benefit of  environmental improvement, their e Read More...

Tottenham Hotspur

Keane own goal gives Spurs win over Everton

Keane own goal gives Spurs win Mourinho secures 200th Premier League win Son and Lloris have halftime bust-up LONDON: An own goal by Michael Keane proved the difference as Tottenham Hotspur beat visitors Everton 1-0 in a dour clash on Monday to move up to eighth in the standings an Read More...

Actor Depp takes on UK tabloid in court battle over 'wife beater' claims

LONDON: Johnny Depp begins legal action against a British tabloid on Tuesday in a case that is likely to delve into the private lives of the Hollywood star, his ex-wife actress Amber Heard and a number of other well-known figures. Depp, the 57-year-old star of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" f Read More...

Yanqi-Nepal meet China’s bid to keep NCP united?

Kathmandu, July 6 China’s Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi yesterday met Madhav Kumar Nepal, a senior leader of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), raising eyebrows as the meeting took place at a time when the internal rift within the NCP is heading towards a climax. Nepal’s former perma Read More...

Student union asks guardians not to pay school fees

BHOJPUR, JULY 6 Nepal Student Union, Bhojpur, has asked guardians not to pay any fees to schools for the lockdown period. At a time when PABSON and N-PAB- SON have asked guardians to pay fees to schools even for the lockdown period, NSU, Bhojpur, has asked guardians not to pay fees for the loc Read More...

175 suicide deaths in Sudurpaschim during lockdown

DADELDHURA, JULY 6 As many as 175 people have died by suicide during the nationwide lockdown in Sudurpaschim Province. Police said that suicide deaths have been reported from all nine districts of the province from March 24 till date. Police said suicide deaths were more common among males com Read More...

Indian side admits constructing embankment in Dasgaja area

RAUTAHAT, JULY 6 A joint survey team of Nepal and India gauged the Dasgaja area with a global positioning system which showed that the Indian side had constructed an embankment on 200 metres of encroached land in Dasgaja area. India had built a 10-metre tall embankment at Banjaraha of Ishnath Read More...