Outcome is important

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has been repeatedly saying that a fresh election date will be announced soon and the constituency assembly polls held within this Nepali calendar year, that is, by mid-April. He assured the Chinese delegation — headed by Wang Jiaruli, a minister for International Department, the central committee of the Communist Party of China — that concluded a five-day visit to Nepal on Tuesday in the same terms. The Chinese came here to discuss the peace process after paying a visit to India. The delegation met the leaders of all the political parties important to the peace process. Expressions of the Chinese team were not essentially different from those of the delegations from other countries of importance to Nepal in that all of them have expressed a desire to see a speedy resolution of the political impasse.

The Chinese are also reported to have stressed political stability in Nepal, one of their key concerns since the early days of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. China’s long-term good relationship with the monarchy in the past is considered by many Nepali diplomatic analysts to have been informed by this interest. Even in the post-monarchy period, which is increasingly looking like a mere matter of time, this Chinese

sensitivity is expected to remain unchanged.

This, along with credible Nepali assurances that no anti-Chinese activity will be allowed to affect China’s soft underbelly, the Tibet autonomous region, would go a long way towards addressing vital Chinese interests in Nepal. In addition, China’s basic foreign policy thrust of non-interference in Nepal’s internal affairs, as in those of other countries, has earned it few enemies in this country. But Chinese goodwill counts roughly as much as that of India and America in Nepal’s stability, prosperity, and preservation of its sovereignty.

It is a good thing that these big powers and the economically powerful European Union all want the peace process to succeed soon; though in certain respects, their interests may be different or even collide. It is for Nepal how best to strengthen fruitful relationship with its friends and to defend its vital and legitimate national interests. But questions have arisen over the ability of the Nepali political powers to utilise the opportunities and to deal with the threats to Nepal’s vital interests in the best possible ways. Some people cite this ‘inability’ as one of the key causes of the present roadblocks to the peace process. Close on the heels of the Chinese, the European Union Troika has arrived. The EU is reported to be in favour of enlarging the role of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). Again, it is for the domestic political parties to decide on the matter, keeping uppermost in their minds whether an enlarged role for UNMIN would serve the objectives of the peace process and political transition better. If yes, there would be no harm in seriously considering the suggestion. What the Nepalis want, and what the country’s political leadership is supposed to produce, is the desired results.