By H.E. Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', former Prime Minister of Nepal & Co-Chairman of Nepal Communist Party at ICWA, New Delhi
The 31st Sapru House Lecture at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) was
an engaging event not only on the latest national developments in Nepal, but
also on the nature of India’s bilateral ties with our mountain neighbour. The
fact that it was delivered by H.E. Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ – the
former Prime Minister of Nepal, gave a rare insight into the politcal-economic
dynamics of his country.
As His Excellency began the lecture, he recalled the last time he had arrived to deliver a Sapru House Lecture in 2013. He commented that during his last visit to India, Nepal was at the crossroad of transformation through a massive political overhaul seen after more than two hundred years of its existence as a nation-state; but this time he represented a country that was full of “robust optimism”. He then proceeded to take the audience through his journey from “bullet to ballot” – describing how Nepal “peacefully” went from being a feudal autocratic monarchy to adopting a republican form of governance. Mr. Dahal further mentioned in detail the provisions of the Nepalese Constitution – also highlighting the aspects included for proportional representation.
As regard to bilateral relations with India, Mr. Prachanda opined that every effort must be made to carry forward the “long civilizational bonds” that even “predated the current nation-state boundaries”. He went on to add that Nepal would be looking at both India and China to help it in achieving its primary goal of leaving behind Nepal’s “Least-Developed Country” status by 2030. He stated that Nepal would balance its ties with its major regional neighbors (China and India) by cooperating with each of them separately; and added that as the chair for the 4th BIMSTEC Summit, Nepal believed that the multi-lateral organization would only complement SAARC and not be the latter’s replacement.
The former Nepali Prime Minister, as he ended his speech, added that his country’s relations with India are on a positive trajectory. He cited as example the frequent visits by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the hill country. He concluded that a “peaceful, stable and democratic” Nepal would be a boon to the geo-political sphere.