Nepalko Kutnaitik Abhyas: Rajdoot ko anubhav.
The editor has simply compiled contributions of select ambassadors who recount their experience as diplomatic representatives for this country. Whatever the editor's personal motives behind this enterprise, the academy of foreign affairs studies has done a sterling job. This collection of memoirs of Nepali diplomats is not just that.
It yields invaluable words of wisdom on Nepali experience in diplomacy, how to and how not to conduct foreign relations.
It is also a compact glossary of foreign affairs development pertaining to Nepali, its priorities and policies and the many known and hitherto unknown contributors to the evolution and conduct of Nepali foreign policy. In this encapsulation of Nepali foreign affairs history, for which the editor and the publishers must be soundly congratulated, kudos must go to the individual former ambassadors who as contributors to the compilation, have displayed in their individual contributions their grasp of Nepali foreign affairs priority, their sense of responsibility on their mission as diplomats and their excellent assessment of the state of Nepali foreign policy today.
The conclusion, it seems, is that the excessive politicization and frequency of political changes have distorted the efficacy of this crucial policy arm of the country.
The conclusion also is that partisan interests have contributed to this.
The recommendation is that professionalism in foreign service must dominate and the dilution that has occurred has reduced its efficacy. This has done us harm. If there is a bone to contend with in conceptualization, it is best traced in Foreign Minister Pradip Gyawali's lines in his forward to the book. 'In its modern sense,' he says, 'Nepal does not have a very long history in its official sense.' Nepal's foreign policy began with Nepal.
It is our politicians and their doctrines who would like to pervert this ingrained reality to serve their parochialism as a result of which almost every ambassadorial contributor has in very subtle or direct terms warned against the slide since 1990. Indeed, in many accounts, the slide began much before the partisan days after 1990. If one would have it, the gradual monopolization of the Nepali monarchy by a coterie is deemed to have diluted politics and foreign policy by some knowledgeable in the book. Some others would see in the politics of the country not being able to sustain its legitimate foreign policy priorities. Somehow one cannot but recall K. Natwar Singh's disparaging recollection of officious Nepalis in his autobiography that did not reflect well on the Nepali monarchy by insinuation for which perhaps the monarchy was not at all to blame. Diplomatic recollections of the stature imbibed in the book, moreover, are revelations as well. Much talks today of economic diplomacy forget that it began with the use of diplomacy to further national interests and that even selling the Kodari highway or bringing in foreign aid is very much part of the same.
The problem, as almost every ambassador recounts in the book, is that envoys' recommendations regarding investment ventures in the country get lost in the conversion process.
The book, as it is, is a wealth of hitherto known and not quite known information on Nepali foreign affairs. Temptations to comment on each contributor's account or the seemingly casual dropping of valuable incidents and information in each account will exceed this review's space.
The book is a MUST READ for the expert and also those who thirst for genuine information in Nepali affairs untainted by politics.
Actually in Nepali foreign policy it is a surprise that we still retain professionals who can pen their thoughts professionally.