On 75th anniversary of Nepal ties, America advocates for stronger sovereignty of Nepal

Nepal-US ties are mostly discussed in terms of economic assistance. However, protection of sovereignty was one of the key considerations among Nepali rulers when they established diplomatic relations with the US in 1947.

Photo: US Embassy, Kathmandu

Mahabir Paudyal

  • Read Time 4 min.

Kathmandu: The United States of America has said that it stands for the stronger and resolute sovereignty of Nepal.

The US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry reiterated this stand on the occasion held in Kathmandu on Friday evening to mark the 75th year of US-Nepal diplomatic relations. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, members of his cabinet, political party leaders, celebrities and intellectuals among others. 

The US ambassador made an appealing remark in the Nepali language drawing the attention of the audience. “We recognize that America is stronger when Nepal is stronger, that Americans are healthier when Nepalis are healthier, that America’s sovereignty will be stronger if Nepal’s sovereignty is strong and resolute,” said Berry while PM Deuba listened.  “That is why our mission ties America’s future to Nepal’s future.”

The US has increased its engagement with Nepal in recent years. Apart from more frequent high-level visits to Nepal, the US has donated nearly 3.8 million vaccine doses and more than $122 million in assistance in the form of life-saving medical supplies, training, and technical support to help Nepal beat the Covid-19. More recently, the USAID has provided $659 million dollar assistance to boost food security, expand and broaden economic growth, sustainably manage natural resources, improve quality health care and education systems and strengthen Nepal’s capacity to mitigate and respond to natural disasters. 

The US envoy to Nepal said that the US has a deep affection for Nepal. “I want all Nepalis—of all ages and all backgrounds—to know that the United States has a deep and abiding affection for Nepal,” he said.  “Americans are drawn to Nepal’s natural beauty, your cultural richness, your ethnic diversity, your delicious food, the majestic mountains, the roaring rivers, and the incredible wildlife.  But most of all, we are drawn to you, the Nepali people, whose warm hospitality is world-famous.”

Indicating that there will be more engagement and more assistance the ambassador said “the best is yet to come.”

Sovereignty question

Nepal-US ties are mostly discussed in terms of the American economic assistance to Nepal in the field of infrastructure, education, democracy and human rights.  

However, the protection of Nepali sovereignty was one of the key considerations among Nepali rulers when they established diplomatic relations with the US in 1947.

[Related: Tracking the trajectory of 75 years of Nepal-US relations]

The US recognized Nepal on April 21, 1947 as an independent sovereign nation. Four days later, on April 25, 1947—four months before India became independent—the Agreement of Commerce and Friendship was signed between the United States and Nepal in Kathmandu. This paved the way for the two countries to establish diplomatic relations on February 16, 1948.

When the Rana regime reached out to the US in 1947, many in Nepal had not liked the idea.  According to Sardar Bhim Bahadur Pande’s account in Tes Bakhatko Nepal, the Nepali leaders living in India were not happy about Nepal establishing diplomatic relations with the US.  The Indian and British governments were also not happy to see Nepal starting diplomatic relations with the US.

But the diplomatic ties with the US helped Nepal in a number of ways in later days. When Nepal applied for the UN membership in 1949, it forwarded the diplomatic relations with the US as one of the proofs to testify to the independence and sovereignty of Nepal. The US firmly supported Nepal in this endeavor.

According to Nepal and Bhutan: Country studies published by the Federal Research Division of Library Congress in 1993, the US also attached importance to sovereignty and integrity of Nepal.

One of the objectives of United States policy toward Nepal was ‘Nepal’s independence and territorial integrity,’ according to the book. “Nepal also sought global support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. While on a state visit to the United States in December 1983, King Birendra received President Ronald Reagan’s endorsement of Nepal as a zone of peace,” says the book. 

Photos: US Embassy, Kathmandu