Govt names envoys for New Delhi, Washington

- Post Report, KATHMANDU
Govt names envoys for New Delhi, Washington

Jan 17, 2015-

After a three-year wait, the government on Friday recommended Nepali Congress leader and former minister Deep Kumar Upadhya as Nepal’s new ambassador to New Delhi, India. The Cabinet also named Arjun Karki as Nepal’s envoy to the United States. Karki, the CPN-UML nominee, is the president of Rural Reconstruction Nepal.

The key diplomatic posting in New Delhi was vacant after the government of Baburam Bhattarai recalled then ambassador to India Rukma Shumsher Rana in 2011 for “non-cooperation”.

The International Relations and Human Rights Committee of Parliament had also directed the government in January, 2011, to recall Rana after he was found working as the Managing Director of Dabur Nepal Pvt Ltd.

Though Upadhya does not have much experience in foreign policy, he was personally picked by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, said an aide to the PM. Close to Koirala, Upadhya had played a key role during the formation of the Koirala-led government.

According to a senior NC leader, Upadhya enjoys good relations with the Indian political leadership.

“Since he belongs to the southern plains of Nepal, it would be easy for him to understand border issues. And he will definitely work as a close confidant of PM Koirala,” the leader said.

Upadhya is also a former tourism and culture minister and a parliamentarian from Kapilvastu district. He is currently a Central Working Committee member of the NC.

“It is indeed a big responsibility,” Upadhya said of his nomination. He added: “The Power Trading Agreement with India has given a new momentum in energy cooperation between the two countries. I will seek Indian support and investment for Nepal’s prosperity.”

For the past three years, the Nepali embassy in New Delhi has been handled by the deputy chief of mission, a joint secretary-level position from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After Rana’s return, the Bhattarai government had proposed UCPN (Maoist) politburo member Ram Karki as the  ambassador to India. India however did not approve Karki’s nomination.

The Nepali mission in Washington, United States, has also been headless for a year, after Shanker Sharma completed his tenure. Envoy nominee Karki is actively involved in LDC Watch, a global alliance of national, regional and international Civil Society organisations. He could not be reached for comments.

The nominees should testify before the Parliamentary Hearing Committee and secure the latter’s approval before their names are endorsed by the President. The host countries also need to endorse the names.

Published: 17-01-2015 08:41

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