geopolitics | economic diplomacy | investment | bilateral relations
In this third episode of the FSi podcast, Ashish Ghimire, a writer/researcher at the_farsight, talks with Vijay Kant Karna about Nepal in international relations; Chinese investment in Nepal; and the emerging trends and the importance of cultural and economic diplomacy.
Karna strongly emphasises during the conversation that Nepal should maintain its own foreign policy based on its national interest.
He maintains an understanding that small countries like Nepal should diversify their foreign policy strategically with the US, India, and China and maintain their own opinion in the United Nations and other international forums as an independent sovereign country.
As the competition between the great powers vis-a-vis trade, infrastructure, and technology is huge, Nepal should not let them indulge in her internal affairs, argues Karna. “Nepal’s strategic community needs to clearly communicate to the US and China that Nepal will not be part of any strategic alliance.”
He further stressed that relationships between countries should be based on bilateral agreements, international protocol, and existing international systems. Nepal’s political situation including its capability, economic strength, and political, social, and cultural system does not allow it to be part of a strategic or defence alliance.
Taking the example of China’s BRI projects, he shares that Nepal should be reluctant to take large loans and projects that can lead to inefficiencies and debt burden.
The former Ambassador also shares his experience and observation about the country's economic diplomacy, which he thinks is constrained by a lack of infrastructure and the problems with the country’s economic and agricultural policies which has led to disadvantages for Nepal vis-a-vis foreign trade. But there are windows of opportunities in the present time coming from different sectors like IT, he goes on to explain.
The former ambassador also elaborates about a diplomat’s larger role sharing his own experience of promoting economic, public, and cultural diplomacy as an ambassador to Denmark. He asserts a diplomat should proactively engage to build the country’s goodwill in the host country.
Vijay Kant Karna, a former Ambassador of Nepal to Denmark (2008-2012), presently serves as the executive chairperson at the Center for Social Inclusion and Federalism (CESIF), a not-for-profit, autonomous, and independent research institution, working on the areas of geopolitical issues, foreign policy, diplomacy, among others.
Vijay is also a Professor of Political Science at Tribhuvan University and frequently writes about geopolitical issues, international relations, foreign policy, and concerns of marginalized people.
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