Nepal and Russia Relations and Global Scenario

Tika Jung Thapa

President, Nepal Council of World Affairs

Nepal and Russia are considered as all weather friends. They have enjoyed cordial relationship ever since they established diplomatic relations on July 20, 1956. Soon after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the Government of Nepal extended full and formal diplomatic recognition to the Russian Federation as a sovereign and independent state on December 28, 1991. Nepal and the Russian Federation celebrated 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2011.

Both the countries have residential diplomatic presence in each other’s capital cities.

In the post II World War era, the voice of Russia was determined by the number of nuclear warheads and missiles. The arms race and ideological struggle was taking the last strength of the country so rich with its natural and people’s resource. When the cold war was over, the Russian people could concentrate on building their welfare, on promoting human values, on building bridges between the nations. For the first time, the world started to look at Russia without fear, but with respect for having courage to embark on the road of genuine reforms and progress.

Russia has also largely consolidated its ground in Europe. Russia’s European partners have seen that attempts to picture Europe without Russia are futile. Russia has signed the Founding Act, Russia-NATO, which has laid down foundations for the development of constructive

collaboration between Russia and NATO. Russia’s agreement with the European Union has come into effect. A momentous event was Russia’s entry into a number of influential international economic structures, and above all Russia’s membership of the Paris and London Clubs of creditors.

The existing potential of Russian-Nepalese cooperation is not used in full measure at the level of small-scale and medium scale business and in hydropower production. There are some indications that the interest of the Nepalese businessman in working on the Russian market is growing.

Balance of trade of Nepal with Russia has remained unfavorable over the past few years. Nepal’s major exports to Russia consists of hand knotted carpets. Nepal mainly imports electrical equipment, industrial raw material, parts of airplane and helicopter and newsprint from the Russian Federation.

A cooperation agreement between the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of commerce and Industry and the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was signed in 2011. There are possibilities in joint industrial ventures in that Russian technology specially relating to hydro-power plants, building materials, energy and small and medium-scale labor- intensive industries, is considered to be suitable for Nepal.

Since 1990 Aeroflot was operating direct flights every week between two capitals- Kathmandu & Moscow. In 2001 Aeroflot decided to discontinue its direct flight to Kathmandu effective after January 13, 2002 showing the basis of a review of commercial viability and efficiency of its flight destinations. In this context, they have proposed three points for the consideration of the Civil Aviation authorities of Nepal - permission of 5 frequencies in a week irrespective of the type of aircraft. The Civil Aviation authorities of Nepal have shown

Flexibility on the Russian side’s points and have proposed for talks either to conclude a new Air Service

Agreement (ASA) to replace the existing one or to amend some clauses in the existing ASA so as to make it up to date. The Aeroflot authorities have informed that they would convey the Nepal side’s readiness to discuss a revised ASA with the civil aviation authorities of Russia.

There are some possibilities of trade between Nepal and Russia. In this regard, several delegations from the National Trading Limited (NTL) have visited Russia in order to explore the possibilities of bilateral trade. Similarly, the Embassy of Nepal, Moscow, and the delegation from the Nepal-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also visited Russia with the same objective. Russian technology on Hydro Electricity and light and Medium Industries are suitable for Nepal. In recent years some private airline companies of Nepal have purchased Russian Helicopters for civilian purposes. Besides, Russian Chemical Fertilizers and Metals can be available in very competitive prices in Nepal.

Cooperation in the field education, traditionally important for Nepal, remains active. More than three thousand Nepalese got their higher education in Russia. Now they are leading experts in many fields. The majority of them are members of Association of the graduates of Russian universities (Mitrakunj). Since 1996 Russian side has resumed the practice of granting scholarships to Nepal.

Vladimir Putin’s presidency has again begun from 2012. In international affairs, President Putin has made increasingly critical public statements regarding the foreign policy of the United States and other Western countries. In February 2007, at the annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, he criticized what he called the United States’ monopolistic dominance in global relations, and pointed out that the United States displayed an “almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations”. He said the result of it is that “no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Such a policy stimulates an arms race.

In July 2012 President Putin said in an address during a meeting with Russian ambassadors in Moscow:

“Russia’s foreign policy has always been and will remain self-sufficient and independent. It is consistent, successive and represents the unique role of our country in world affairs and civilization development which has formed over centuries. It has nothing to do with isolationism or confrontation, and provides for integration into global processes.. .We will continue strongly defending the United Nations Charter as a basis of the modern world order, and we will continue to push for everyone to proceed from the fact that only the United Nations Security Council has the right to make decisions in cases requiring the use of force”.

On the whole, Nepal is happy to have its friendly relationship with a country holding veto power in the UN Security Council. Nepal hopes to see the bilateral relationship between our two countries to strengthen in the days to come. We hope under the dynamic relationship of President Putin, Russia’s global stature will rise further in future.

Thanks Look Nepal: Ed.  

 

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