Nepal sans National security policy
National security has several dimensions. Some could be clearly observed and some may not be in sight but yet demand attention from the state. It needs a constant watch. The formulation of a national security policy is the need of the hour but the ruling elites conclude that Nepal’s security problems were not of that bigger dimension which demanded a clear cut policy as regards the same. It is here they have been committing blunders. Some quarters even claim that Nepal must not have a foreign policy as such and that let it remain a tagged one with some friends in the immediate neighborhood. But they are still Nepalese nationals though they follow the continuation of the Nehruvian doctrine.
Not only to secure its territorial boundaries in a secured manner but also to clean up the imposed internal security threats, Nepal definitely needs in place a solid national security policy as other countries possess.
The fact is that Nepal without delay needs a national security policy because it may be the single nation-state in the world which has been allowed to remain in a vulnerable state and experience continued onslaughts originating both from outside and the domestic trouble makers.
At least this was the gist of a MIREST, Media Initiative for Rights, Equity and Social Transformation, sponsored seminar held July 1, 2011.
Though the seminar title expected that the foreign policy experts converged at the seminar hall will provide some concrete propositions for the perusal of the beleaguered state that Nepal has been made by our august republican leaders in the recent years, however, nothing of that sort came up instead the attending participants began ventilating their personal expertise as if they were themselves the national security experts to which they were not in essence. Thus contradictions and counter comments that emanated from the floor and the podium devastated the entire program with no substantial outcome that the MIREST may have expected from its adventure though was a laudable one because of the seriousness of the topic.
The entire program became a platform to exhibit that each and every one attending the seminar were no less than a national security expert.
Noted political scientist and a former diplomat, Mr. Hiranya Lal Shrestha who had presented a working paper made a cursory observation on why Nepal now needed a national security policy. His paper though demanded much attention from the attending participants and the “half baked foreign policy expert-panelists” seated at the podium, however, none of the big wigs were candid enough to spell out as to why and how the nation could get a national security policy.
Some “elevated” Nepali diplomats made even jocular and shameful comments wherein they spoke high of their own performances to which it were not because those elevated ones were neither a foreign ministry career diplomats nor have had they turned at least some pages of the books on diplomacy and international relations.
One late King Birendra picked up diplomat during his course of making comments on Shrestha’s paper lauded his personal “intimate connections” with the Indian leaders, President of India included, thus in the process exposed himself as to have been a man belonging, by default, out and out of former British colony. He may have thought that his Indian connections will be taken in good taste, however, some sharp brains could dig much from his tacit connections with a neighbor which always wants to see a weakened Nepal.
Yet a foreign ministry career diplomat, now a retired one tried to talk something on the topic but largely centered his comments on peripheral things which though demanded some attention but yet those were not of immediate concerns for Nepal.
Mr. Shrestha’s paper clearly demanded from the neighbors that one’s under belly must not be pricked under any pretext or the other. Shrestha’s paper hinted that some forces in the vicinity were flaring up the sensitive part of Nepal caring little that such nefarious acts may time permitting boomerang on itself. His message had some meaning. May be he was also hinting that China’s under belly-Tibet is being attacked from the Nepalese soil which must not happen. He however, raised a valid and legitimate issue wherein he stated that the “legitimate security interests or for that matter concerns of Nepal’s friendly neighbors both in the North and South must be taken well care of”.
Nice proposition that it was. However, how far such propositions will be accepted by some subservient domestic and external elements will have to be carefully watched over time.
All in all, the MIREST seminar was a success in that the organization did come up with a topic that is of Nepal’s special concern. Let’s see how the ruling elites act upon the recommendations that the MIREST must have compiled for the perusal of the government of the day and also for the extensive use of those who claim themselves to be Nepal’s security experts.
Self praise is no recommendation.