The two biggest nations of the world with controversial ideologies i.e. the largest democracy and largest socialist country are in our periphery. As Nepal is a buffer zone between them both should try their level best to work for Nepal
Whenever any Nepali national visits foreign countries, there will be avalanches of worthless advice through the media and focus on ‘collecting optimum benefits’ from very visit. A large pool of crude scholars ink a lot to offer free advice ahead but it is shameful that most of them exhort the delegates to either ask for monetary help or project based assistance. These have posed a question as to whether Nepal can expect development on its own.
Anticipating such petty help enervates our position of an independent, sovereign and capable state. How long can we wrongly foresee prosperity on others’ assistance? How much dignifying is it to expect changes imported from others? Other than focusing on small projects, why don’t we install bigger and better business knots and networks? We should work as a ‘diplomatic relation builder’ to export goods and services than to only look for relocation of dependency when in need. But we have largely deviated in this regard with almost all of the countries with which we have bilateral relations.
Despite having unique geo-strategic location for big power balance, Nepal can’t and should not think of progressing only with the sympathy of others. Latest reports read that Nepal annually receives approx $ 1 billion donation, tentatively equal to 13% of the budget. Besides monetary help, project based assistance from neighbors on infrastructures and social development is common.
Mostly, our relations are about asking others to employ people in jobs or fund a few projects. Presenting ourselves as an ‘aid and employment seeker’, we never command the status and strength in international sphere, as we expect. We need to change from an aid seeker to an opportunity builder for better business sphere but we have often missed it.
Nepal has unparalleled, unending and multi-fold business prospects for our neighbors and the whole world. From many countries which are developed we expect similar condition for us like in South Korea, Denmark, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, UAE, Switzerland and Qatar all smaller than we are. In case of bio-diversity, Nepal is the 7th richest country in the world. Thus, we are neither small nor poor.
We should have extensive export oriented business relations with all countries. The annual growth of population in both neighboring countries, India and China, is higher than the total stock of population in Nepal now. The big mass, around half of the world population, is in our neighborhood and that is a great market for us to trade. We are land connected instead of land locked. Rather than asking for support on one or two projects, our interest has to be to ease business environment. Establishing as many factories as possible and bonding with those countries to sell the products there allows us both employment and earnings. But priorities are not set so.
Many foreigners, especially Chinese, visit various rural places of Nepal to buy highly expensive cash crops i.e. Chiraito, Bodhhichitta, Rudraksha, Yarsa Gumba, Alaichi and others. If these sorts of business relations could be institutionalized, better economic prospects would become viable to farmers.
Our next door neighbour China is the economic shark now. In the periphery too countries like Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and many more are having exceptionally exponential economic growth and are called tiger economies. Most of those economic tigers are Buddhists and Asian in location. It is fortunate that the place they love to visit is Nepal. China alone has almost 20 per cent population of the world and 65 per cent of them out of 1.5 billion believe in Buddhism. Other fast growing economies, which are called Asian Tigers, are also mostly Buddhist. If Nepal could generate an ambiance whereby every Buddhist visits Lumbini, once in his or her life time, that would positively promote our economic strength.
The most valuable energy now is petrol called a black diamond which is about to finish soon. Half of the stock is supposed to have been consumed so far. Then, the next and best option for procuring energy is water resources. Nepal, with massive possibility in hydro power generation, should cash on energy prospects and begin producing energy. We can achieve the prosperity of today’s Middle East, which is based on the sale of oil, by selling electricity, after the oil supplies dry up.
The two biggest nations of the world with controversial ideologies i.e. the largest democracy and largest socialist country are in our periphery. As Nepal is a buffer zone between them both try their level best to work for Nepal hoping Nepal will have a better inclination towards them.
As there is no free lunch in diplomacy, they always attach their interests to such help. Leaders expect foreigners to work for the betterment of the country. People want to flee away and come back only if the nation gets good. Question is, why and who does it for us? For how long can we expect others to come and help us? And, this sordid fact has severely marked the sheer failure of Nepal’s diplomacy. We have to produce a lot better bilateral diplomacy for expanding trade potentials. We should think of progress on our own.
The author is a PhD on Issues of Nation Building and is engaged in academic freelancing.