‘Govt move could deal a setback to Nepal-India ties’

  • ambassador recall
- Devendra Bhattarai, New Delhi

May 9, 2016-

The government’s decision to recall Nepali Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay could be a setback in Nepal-India diplomatic ties, say diplomatic experts. 

A former Nepali ambassador said the recall of Nepali envoy was ill-timed and had serious meaning in diplomacy. “Word, time and context are very important words in diplomacy. The recall of Ambassador Upadhyay in this time and context seems like India-China relations during the 1960s war. The decision could have long-term repercussions,” he said.

  

The diplomatic community in New Delhi seems more concerned about Nepali ambassador’s recall than the cancellation of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s visit to India.

 

Experts on Nepal-India relations have noted that Upadhyay tried his best to patch up communication gap between the two countries since being appointed Nepal’s ambassador to India by the Sushil Koirala government a year ago. He played his role effectively during the devastating earthquake and protracted economic blockade. 

Before his appointed, the post had been lying vacant for nearly three-and-a-half years, after the then Maoist-led government recalled ambassador Rukma Shuksher Rana, also a Nepali Congress leader, in August 2011.

The Koirala government appointed him with special power and facilities on par with government ministers. 

A Foreign Ministry official in Kathmandu, however, said that those special powers and facilities remained only in paper. An ambassador “need to inform the Foreign Ministry but does not need permission” for any visits. However, the Oli government had questioned his travel from Mumbai to Patna and then to Birgunj through Motihari, Raxaul in April-end. A Cabinet meeting on Friday decided to recall Upadhyay. However, the Foreign Ministry has not yet received an official letter even after 48 hours of the decision. 

Upadhyay remained tight-lipped when asked to comment on the government decision. “I am awaiting the official government letter. I will comment only after I get it,” he told the Post. 

In a different context, Upadhyay said, “A government official asked me to resign. But I asked him on what grounds I should resign. Health is not the reason since I am healthy. I did not resign as I found no reason to do so.”

On Saturday, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari had invited Upadhyay for tea. “Though the decision to recall you was  made by your government, it took me all by surprise,” he told Upadhyay during the meeting.

 

Upadhyay is scheduled to meet with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar this week to say “goodbye”.

Published: 09-05-2016 08:09

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