Foreign relations of Nepal

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The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal has traditionally maintained a non-aligned policy and enjoys friendly relations with neighboring countries. As a landlocked country wedged between two larger and far stronger powers, Nepal maintains good relations with People's Republic of China.[1] Relationship with India has observed ups and downs. Indian government's repeated attempts to deny Nepal 'Transit rights' via India and the issues of border disputes have hampered significantly hampered the relationship between the two countries.[2]

Constitutionally, foreign policy is to be guided by “the principles of the United Nations Charter, nonalignment, Panchsheel (five principles of peaceful coexistence), international law and the value of world peace.” In practice, foreign policy has not been directed toward projecting influence internationally but toward preserving autonomy and addressing domestic economic and security issues.

Nepal’s most substantive international relations are perhaps with international economic institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, a multilateral economic development association. Nepal also has strong bilateral relations with major providers of economic and military aid, such as France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Switzerland, the United States, and particularly the United Kingdom, with whom military ties date to the nineteenth century. The country's external relations are primarily managed by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nepal's relation with China has seen a major upswing in the recent years with China now becoming Nepal's 3rd largest aid donor (after the UK and Japan), and the largest source of FDI to Nepal.[3][4][5]

Multilateral relations of Nepal[edit]

Nepal has played an active role in the formation of the economic development-oriented South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and is the site of its secretariat. On international issues, Nepal follows a nonaligned policy and often votes with the Non-Aligned Movement in the United Nations. Nepal participates in a number of UN specialized agencies and is a member of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Colombo Plan, and the Asian Development Bank.[citation needed]

Human rights issues[edit]

In 2000, the government established the National Human Rights Commission, a government-appointed commission with a mandate to investigate human rights violations. To date, the Commission has investigated 51 complaints.[citation needed]. Although freedom of expression is widely used as constitutional right, some minor problems regarding it have been reported in the country. Trafficking in women and child labour remain serious problems.[citation needed]

International disputes[edit]

A joint border commission continues to work on small disputed sections of the border with India. Currently Nepal has border disputes with India at Lipulekh and Kalapani in Darchula district and Susta in Bihar.[citation needed]

Illicit drugs[edit]

Illicit production of cannabis for domestic and international drug markets continues to be considered as an international problem, as do rumours that the country operates as a transit point for opiates from Southeast Asia and Pakistan to the West.[citation needed]

Bilateral relations[edit]


Nepal and Argentina established diplomatic relations on January 1, 1962. The relations between Nepal and Argentina are based on goodwill, friendship and mutual understanding. The Argentinean Government has shown interest to extend technical cooperation on leather processing industries in Nepal under the South-South Cooperation. However, the Argentinean proposal has not been materialized yet. Nepal's trade balance with Argentina is in favour of Argentina. There is no significant figure of export from Nepal. Major commodities imported by Nepal from Argentina are Crude soybean oil, soybean oil, vegetable waxes, sun flower oil and maize.[6]


Nepal has good bilateral relations with Bangladesh as they view the latter nation as a great access to the sea giving them the opportunity to develop potential transit and trade facilities and be less dependent on India and China. Nepal recognised Bangladesh on 16 January 1972[7] and relations further improved after the military coup on August 1975. The turning point for the two nations occurred in April 1976, signing a four-point agreement on technical cooperation, trade, transit and civil aviation. They both seek cooperation in the fields of power generation and development of water resources. In 1986, relations further improved when Bangladesh insisted Nepal should be included on a deal regarding the distribution of water from the Ganges River. Also recently Nepal and Bangladesh had signed treaty that Nepal would sell 10,000 MW of electricity to Bangladesh once it's larger projects are completed.[8]


Relations with Bhutan have been strained since 1992 over the nationality and possible repatriation of refugees from Bhutan.[9]


Nadir Patel is the Canadian ambassador to Nepal.

Many Nepalese politicians and government officials criticised Canadian diplomats in the aftermath of the Kabul attack on Canadian Embassy guards in which the majority of victims were Nepalese citizens. Members of parliament were among those who were critical of the way that Canada treated its security contractors at the embassy, leading to meetings in Ottawa between Nepalese and Canadian diplomats, including ambassador Nadir Patel.[10]


Nepal formally established relations with the PRC in 1955. Though Nepal initially let Tibetans Khampa rebels to make use of Nepalese territory in early 1960's, bilateral relations have generally been very good from 1975 onwards, after annexation of Kingdom of Sikkim by India in 1975. As much as 20 thousand Tibetan refugees live in Nepal and this has been a major issue of concern between China and Nepal. Kathmandu has in several instances been cracking down on the activities of the Tibetans receiving international condemnation. In 2005, Nepalese Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey called China "an all weather friend" and King Gyanendra's regime was also instrumental in inducting China into the SAARC. Nepalese in general, hold a positive view about the influence of China.[citation needed] In recent years, China has been one of the largest aid donors to Nepal just behind the UK. China is also Nepal's largest source of FDI.


See Denmark–Nepal relations.

European Union[edit]

The role of the European Union is to present, explain and implement EU policies, analyze and report on the political, social, and economic situation in Nepal, and to conducts negotiations in accordance with a given mandate.[11]


Further information: Foreign relations of Finland

Holy See[edit]

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1985. The Holy See has a nunciature in the country. Nepal Embassy, Berlin is accredited as non-residential embassy for Holy See.*Nepal (nunciature)


India–Nepal relations have been close but fraught with difficulties. India in 1989 imposed a 13 month long economic blockade over Nepal to strangle Nepal's economy.

Nepal also has largest trade deficit with India. Resentment over huge number of Indian migrants migrating to Nepal and acquiring Nepalese citizenship compounded with disputes over territories like Kalapani and Susta has meant that the bilateral relations between the two nations has been degrading over the past decades. India in 2015 again imposed a blockade over Nepal in support of Indian immigrant madheshi people.


King Mahendra of Nepal (second from left) in a 1958 visit to Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science.

Nepal was the first and until recently the only nation in South and Central Asia to establish diplomatic ties with Israel. The bilateral relation between the two countries has been good. Traditionally, Nepal votes in favor of Israel at the UN and abstains from resolution opposed by the Israeli government barring few exceptions. Israel-Nepal relations are based on mutual security concerns.[12]

Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal from 1959 to 1960, had a strongly pro-Israel foreign policy. King Mahendra visited Israel in 1963 and maintained Koirala's special relationship.[13] Nepal has continued to maintain strong diplomatic ties with Israel despite numerous change in government.


Diplomatic relations were established in September 1956. Japan has an embassy in Kathmandu. Nepal has an embassy in Tokyo. The cultural ties between Nepal and Japan date back to much earlier days before direct people to people contact started in 1899.[14] Japan is one of the largest aid donors to Nepal.[15][16]


Malaysia has an embassy in Kathmandu,[17] and Nepal has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[18] Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 January 1960,[19] with bilateral relations between Malaysia and Nepal have developed from historic grounds.[20]


Diplomatic relations were established on 26 January 1973. Norway established an embassy in Kathmandu in 2000.[21][22] Norway's aid to Nepal was around 2 million NOK in 2008. Norwegian aid prioritizes education, good governance and energy.[citation needed]

In 2008, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim visited Nepal.[23] In 2009, Prime Minister Prachanda visited Norway.[24] In May 2008, a small bomb exploded outside the Norwegian embassy in Kathmandu. No one was injured.[25][26]


The bilateral relations between Nepal and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were fully established between 1962 and 1963.[27] Both nations have since sought to expand trade, strategic cooperation.


Nepal and the Soviet Union had established diplomatic relations in 1956. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Nepal extended full diplomatic recognition to the Russian Federation as its legal successor. Since then numerous bilateral meetings have taken place between both sides. Since 1992 numerous Nepalese students have gone to Russia for higher studies on a financial basis. In October 2005 the Foreign ministers of both countries met to discuss cooperation on a variety of issues including political, economic, military, educational, and cultural. Both countries maintain embassies in each other's capitals. Russia has an embassy in Kathmandu while Nepal has an embassy in Moscow.

South Korea[edit]

In addition to the in-kind and monetary donations and emergency relief workers sent by the government of the Republic of Korea immediately after the latest earthquake in Nepal[28] the Korean government provided grant aid worth 10 million US dollars to assist with Nepal’s recovery and reconstruction efforts.[29]

United Kingdom[edit]

Relations between the UK and Nepal have historically been friendly and there have been close links between the Royal Families, although relations deteriorated when the King took power in 2005. A treaty of friendship was signed in 1923, which superseded the Sugauli Treaty signed in 1816. The UK is highly regarded in Nepal. This is through historical ties, development assistance and long term support in the struggle for democratic peace in Nepal. Also of note is that through the recruitment of Gurkha soldiers by the British Army since the 19th century, Nepal has had links with the United Kingdom. The UK is Nepal’s largest bilateral aid donor.[30][31][32]

United States[edit]

The United States opened its Kathmandu Embassy in 1959. Relations between the two countries have always been strong. U.S. policy objectives toward Nepal center on helping Nepal build a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic society.

According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 41% of Nepalese people approve of U.S. leadership. Since 1951, the United States has provided more than $791 million in bilateral economic assistance to Nepal. In recent years, annual bilateral U.S. economic assistance through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has averaged $40 million per year.[citation needed]

Embassy of Nepal in Washington, D.C.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Bangladesh Gains in Favor". Sarasota, Florida, USA: Sarasota Herald-Tribune, via Google News. United Press International. January 17, 1972. 
  8. ^ "Nepal And Bangladesh, A Strong Relationship". Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  9. ^ This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ Pandey, Lekhanath (26 June 2016). "Nepal seeks answers from Canada on Kabul suicide bombing attack". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  11. ^ Role of the EC delegation to Nepal
  12. ^ Visit to Israel of Honorable Mrs. Sahana Pradhan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  13. ^ Abadi, Jacob. Israel's Quest for Recognition and Acceptance in Asia: Garrison State Diplomacy, 2004. Page 318.
  14. ^ "Embassy of Japan in Nepal". Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  15. ^ Anbarasan, Ethirajan (2004-09-22). "Analysis: India's Security Council seat bid". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  16. ^ "Japan writes off Nepalese debt". BBC News. 2004-10-12. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  17. ^ "Official Website of Embassy of Malaysia, Kathmandu". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Embassy of Nepal". Embassy of Nepal, Kuala Lumpur. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Nepal-Malaysia Relationship". Embassy of Nepal, Kuala Lumpur. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "Bilateral Relations (Nepal-Malaysia)". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Norwegian Embassy in Nepal
  23. ^ Nepal’s Prime Minister visits Norway April 10, 2009
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Politics/Nation". The Times Of India. 2008-05-17. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Nepal - Pakistan and Bangladesh". Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "UK should cut aid to Nepal if "endemic" corruption persists: report". Reuters. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  31. ^ "DFID's bilateral programme in Nepal". The International Development Committee of the House of Commons. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  32. ^ "A Conversation with Departing Nepal Chief of the UK Aid Agency". United We Blog! for a Democratic Nepal. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 

External links[edit]