High-Level Policy Dialogue on Nepal’s National Interest

June 23, 2022

Date: 1 July 2022

Venue: Policy Research Institute, Narayanahiti, Kathmandu

Policy Research Institute (PRI) organized a high-level policy dialogue amongst experts and pundits of national interests to collect ideas and opinions as to what constitutes ‘national interests’ in Nepal’s case and how the interests should be promoted and protected. The event, chaired and moderated by the PRI Chairperson Dr Bishnu Raj Upreti, was attended by former foreign ministers of Nepal, chairpersons of the relevant committees of the federal parliament, foreign department officials of political parties, current and former high-ranking employees of the government of Nepal and experts in the field of diplomacy and security. Also present were the researchers from PRI.

The program was organized physically, with the option to participate through virtual mediums as well. Among the experts in national security and foreign affairs present, Pro. Dr Meena Vaidya Malla, Mr Pramesh Hamal, Hon. Mr. Upendra Yadav, Dr. Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, Dr. Rajan Bhattarai, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Prof. Dr. Sambhu Ram Simkhada, Dr. Rambhakta Thakur, Mr. Leelamani Poudyal, Hon. Dr. Deepak Prakash Bhatta,  Dr. Kedar Bhakta Shrestha, Dr. Arjun Karki, Dr. Purna Silwal, Prof. Dr. Khadga K.C., Dr. Rupak Acharya, Mr. Jagadish Kharel, and Mr. Rabiraj Thapa presented their views in the program.

Sharing their views and ideas, the speakers highlighted the need for Nepal’s political parties to carry a unified stance on Nepal’s national interest, irrespective of the difference in political ideologies. They spoke of differences present among politicians regarding national interest and warned of the risk of delayed development of a coherent policy and a voice. Given Nepal’s geopolitical realities, foreign policy priorities should not be changed with the change of governments, the experts underlined. Doing so, they reasoned, makes Nepal vulnerable to external influences. Almost every speaker stressed carrying a clear and firm stand on Nepal’s foreign policy, along with policies of expanding and strengthening relations with neighbours on the basis of mutual benefit.

In the end, Chairperson Upreti concluded the program by thanking all the experts for their time, insightful ideas and suggestions, which, as Chairperson Upreit underscored, will be published as a PRI report provisionally titled ‘Nepal’s National Interest’.