Head of the Political, Foreign and Current Affairs, Annapurna Post Daily
Special Correspondent for Foreign & Strategic Affairs, Nayapatrika National Daily
Webinar on COVID-19 and Foreign Policy of Nepal
The Covid-19 pandemic is testing the efficacy of Nepal from its public health systems to political leadership like in many countries around the world. The government is doing everything to contain the virus, imposing travel restrictions to lockdowns. Notwithstanding, proactive regional and international engagements is must to deal with this global pandemic.
The virus has devastated the world. The cases are rising and the economies are crashing ominously. Covid19’s damage will only worsen in the days to come. Nepal is very vulnerable, with weak health system, poor healthcare technology and inadequate medical supplies. There is no deceased case due to coronavirus in Nepal but it has already taken its toll to the economy of Nepal. In response to this life-altering crisis, Nepal’s Foreign Policy must be well formulated and determined.
Nepal’s foreign policy priority has always remained towards its immediate neighbours. In this difficult time, Nepal and China relations have remained as friendly as ever. China even donated medical supplies to Nepal. Similarly, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali had a discussion with his counterpart in India Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on enhancing cooperation to combat the threats posed by Covid-19 realizing the importance of the smooth supply of medical items between the countries and for effective border surveillance. Nepal also pledged $
Meanwhile, around 5 million Nepali people work or study in foreign countries. A large share of Nepal’s GDP is contributed by remittance, people working abroad to as many as 14 numbers of countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Nepal must ensure the security and welfare of migrants working aboard. It is most probable that Nepali migrant workers are going to lose their job in the near future as a result of global economic fallout. UAE has already asked all the countries to take back their citizens saying that it would impose ‘strict restrictions’ on countries not willing to take back their citizens working there. However, the government of Nepal has to figure out the right policy dimensions to deal with similar situation.
This webinar on Covid-19 and Foreign Policy of Nepal intends to generate relevant discussion on Nepal’s engagements during the Covid-19 pandemic in bilateral/regional/international level.
Keywords: Covid-19, ensuring health care supplies, Nepal’s Foreign Policy, cooperation, immediate neighbours, regional and global organizations, security and welfare of migrant workers, remittance inflow, multilateral institutions, foreign aid, Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA), proactive diplomacy.
Time and Date: 9 PM, Friday, 24 April 2020
Platform: Zoom Video Conferencing
Medium of Discussion: Nepali