Time for ideas

The call for a stronger Nepali diplomatic circuit at a talk programme on Monday by foreign diplomats as well as other participants was a polite way of saying that not all Nepali missions have performed up to the mark. Opening new vistas for stronger ties with countries cannot occur with a complacent and underequipped staff in terms of resources coupled with a penchant for avoiding contacts with the ones who matter. A strong zeal is necessary to explore new avenues of cooperation, interests and methods to utilise them in each other’s benefit. The central purpose of any country’s diplomatic apparatus is to expand its clout at all feasible levels. While geopolitical realities determine the national interests, establishment of harmonious relationship with other nations is the cardinal rule of diplomacy through which areas of mutual cooperation are worked out and ideas and services exchanged. In order to achieve this vital task, diplomatic missions cannot afford to be lacklustre in foreign capitals either because of lack of will or inadequate resources and properly trained manpower. Nepal’s performance on this count has been unenviable. The participants’ call, therefore, for oiling the diplomatic gear is more than justified.

Economic diplomacy is the key ingredient of all nation-states. Strategic and geopolitical considerations aside, economic cooperation is such a domain that not only brings mutual benefits but also serves as a constant factor in strengthening bilateral as well as multilateral ties. But Nepal’s failure to score on this front has been exposed time and again. The latest example was the helplessness with which Nepali missions in Gulf watched the kidnapping

drama concerning Nepali workers in Iraq. Good diplomacy presupposes a well-groomed staff and the ambassador, who, as the captain, must shoulder the big responsibility of identifying areas of interest to his home country. Staff motivation and their understanding of the nation’s needs are equally vital. The diplomats should not confine themselves to cameo appearances in conferences and cocktail circuits. The future lies in attracting as much foreign investment as many speakers on Monday emphasised. It is time the foreign ministry came up with a dynamic tool to cope with the new demands of international interaction.