Politics

Nepal’s five historic diplomatic ‘records’ made by former PM BP Koirala

Birat Anupam

bp-koirala-pic

Itahari, 8 September (2020) – On 8 September 1914, Bishweshwar Prashad Koirala was born to a politically exiled Nepali family at Varanashi of India. He was born just a month after the beginning of the World War One. Today marks the 106th birth anniversary of this great democratic icon and legendary literary figure of Nepal and the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Nepal.

One of the founding father of Nepal’s Grand Old Party Nepali Congress, Koirala as the 22nd Prime Minister of Nepal also founded some of the great diplomatically pioneering historic steps. Koirala who breathed his last on 21 July, 1982,  was in the office just for around 18 months from 27 May 1959 to 15 December 1960. However, he has made some great diplomatic records on behalf of Nepal in the international arena.

First South Asian country to recognize the state of Israel

At a time when many nations around the globe including India were reluctant to recognize Israel, BP Koirala was the first Prime Minister from South Asia recognizing the state of Israel.  On 1 June 1960, Nepal formally established its diplomatic relationship with Israel.  It was just after 12 years of the officially established state of Israel on 14 May 1948. He also made 10-day-long state visit to Israel on the August of 1960 and issued joint statement with founding father and the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion before concluding his visit on 23 August 1960, says an archive report by Jewish Telegraph Agency. The report added, ‘He attended a scientific conference at the Weizmann Institute and Met Israel leaders. Premier Koirala, it was learned, has also indicated a desire to send Nepalese officers for training with Israel Army. He was particularly interested in the ‘Nahal’- the semi-military agricultural youth training organization that mans many settlements on the Israel frontiers.”

First Nepali PM to speak for China’s inclusion in UN B.P. Koirala openly advocated for China’s inclusion as Permanent Member in UN on 15th regular session of the UNGA in 1960. Where he said, ”the United Nations can neither become universal nor can it reflect the political realities existing in the world outside until People’s Republic of China is is given rightful place in our organization. The United Nations will not be able to fulfill effectively some of its most important purposes and functions until People’s Republic of China is brought in.”  After 11 years on 25 October 1971, UN formally recognized People’s Republic of China as the permanent member of UN replacing the position previously held by the then Republic of China (Taiwan).

First Nepali PM to advocate for UN membership for Mongolia

Speaking on the 15th UNGA Koirala also openly advocated for the membership of the Mongolia. He said, ”Greater imagination and foresight are needed than the United Nations has thus far shown. We also feel that the Republic of Mongolia too has a rightful claim to membership of this organization.”

First Nepali PM to talk Everest issue with Mao

On 18 March 1960, BP Koirala made a historic meeting with Mao Zedong in Hengzhou of China during his official state visit to China. During the meet, Koirala actively raised the issue of Mt. Everest with Mao. A book titled ‘Mao Zedong on Diplomacy’, which was compiled by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and the Party Literature Research Center under the Central Committee of the Comminist Party of China and first published by Foreign Languages Press Beijing on 1998, has detailed this conservation. The chapter titled ‘The Sono-Nepalese Border Must be Peaceful and Friendly Forever’ details interaction between the leaders from the verbatim records. BP interacted with Mao as follows on the issue of Mt. Everest:

BP: There is another question, a question of sentiment. We call it Sagarmatha, the West call it Everest and you call it Qumolongma. The place has always been within our boundary, but Premier Zhou Enlai said it was within yours. Mao: You should not feel uneasy about it.

BP: It is a sentimental question.

Mao: It can be resolved, half for each side. The southern part is yours and the northern part is ours.

BP: How about the mountaintop?

Mao: Half for each side as well. Will that be all right? If it cannot be solved now, we may postpone it as well. The mountain is very high and it can safeguard our security at the border. Neither of us will suffer losses. If all of it is given to you, sentimentally we shall feel sorry. If all of it given to us, sentimentally you will feel sorry. We can have a boundary marker on top of it. The mountain can be renamed. We shall not call it Everest that was a name given by Westerners. Neither shall call it Sagarmatha, nor shall we call it Qomolangma. Let us name it Mount Sino-Nepalese Friendship.

BP: All right.

First Nepali PM to stand for Algerian independence During premiership of Koirala, North African country Algeria was in French colonial rule and was fighting for its independence. Koirala openly supported Algerian independence from France in his 15th UNGA speech in 1960. Where he said: ” It may not be necessary for me to repeat that we have always stood for Algerian independence. When the President of France made a solemn declaration last year, we had hoped that the new French policy would lead to Algerian self-determination and to the solution of the Algerian question once for al. But, looking back over the progress of the past year, we find that the constructive move initiated by the president of France was not carried to its logical conclusion, certainly not because of the Algerian failure to respond but because of the unrealistic conditions with the French sought to hedge around the original offer of negotiations on the basis of self-determination.” Finally after two years of BP’s solidarity at the UNGA on Algerian independence struggle, Algeria got its independence on July 1962. RSS

Comments