Nepal cannot be a part of any Military alliance, we follow Panchsheel: Former Minister Gurung

KATHMANDU: Former Minister and Chief Whip of the Nepal Communist Party Dev Gurung recently spoke at the Reporters Club. He is a leader who is seen to keep a strong stance on critical issues. The following are excerpts of his discussion with President of the Reporters Club and senior Journalist Rishi Dhamala.

The former Minister spoke about the central committee meeting which is deciding on whether to amend the constitution. Regarding the new election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR), he said, ” there are specified procedures which will commence in order to begin the winter session of the House, and we have to wait for that to begin”.

Regarding the administration under the NCP and evaluating its performance he said “we have always held discussions regarding work that is being done under our government. Yes, I do agree there have been lapses and weaknesses in our part, but for the most of it our government has been progressive, and we are committed to working for the people”.

When asked whether the MCC (Millennium Challenge Corporation) aid will be passed in the parliament, Gurung stated “we have held various rounds of talks regarding this matter. MCC began back in 2017. In November of the same year, the United States began a partnership called the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS). In 2018 the MCC was said to be a part of the IPS. Nepal became a part of IPS in 2018 as declared by the United States. This is the main reason why we need to discuss this with the US. Nepal has not entered the IPS”.

“We have always said that we are not a part of the IPS. They have been trying to intertwine MCC and the IPS, but we are not a part of the IPS. US has to be clear that the MCC is separate and has nothing got to do with the IPS. MCC is related to development while IPS is military and strategic. There should be no terms and conditions regarding IPC within the MCC, and if this is the case then we will accept MCC as it is a matter of development”.

“We have to discuss with the US regarding MCC. We cannot be a part of a military alliance. We believe more in the principle of Panchsheel”.

“It will be incorrect to term MCC as either national or against national interests. These are normal development projects, and the GoN has been partnering in various projects such as these. The projects are related to financial development and Nepal will benefit. But the MCC cannot be associated or be a part of IPS”.

Journalist Rishi Dhamala further asked on questions related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and whether Nepal can be a part of the military-strategic alliance of the IPS. The former Minister said “IPS is purely military and BRI is related to development. Philosophically Nepal follows the path of Panchsheel, and we also need to develop financially. We cannot be a part of a military strategic alliance”.

The former Minister also spoke about the unity within the NCP and that they were accepting criticisms and working their way to improve interparty ties between leaders and were more focused on developing the nation. When counter questioned on this by journalist Dhamala where he posed a question regarding “massive loot in the land grabbing scam” the former Minister replied “we are looking into the case, and there are discussions going on. We cannot privatize national property, yes, several questions have been raised. Discussions are ongoing to resolve such issues”.