International Relations of Nepal: Historical Overview

Nepal is a landlocked country located in between two big neighbouring countries; India and China. Nepal had to fight sometimes with Tibet and China and sometimes to Britain to protect the existence of the country. Nepal never came under the control of other countries and was able to protect its sovereignty and independence even at the difficult days in the past. 

Nepal’s foreign policy appears to have pursued a new direction after the signing of Treaty of Sugauli on March 6, 1816 AD (1872BS) whereas Nepal’s regular contact with the modern world is believed to have started after the establishment of its diplomatic relations with Britain.

Nepal appears to have established its relations with only two countries; India and Britain in the Rana period. With the establishment of diplomatic relation with the African Nation Eswatini on May 9, 2019, the number of countries with the diplomatic relationship with Nepal has reached 166. (Till the date 2076/2/22)

The countries that Nepal had friendly relations with at diplomatic level prior to 2007 BS
S. No. Country Date of establishment of friendly relations
1 United Kingdom (Britain) 1872 BS (1816 AD)
2 United States of America Baishakh 12, 2004 BS (April 25, 1947 AD)
3 India Jeth 31, 2004 BS (June 13, 1947 AD)
4 France Baishakh 8, 2006 BS (April 20, 1949 AD)
The first countries from different continents that Nepal established its friendly relation with
S.n. Continent The First Country Date (AD)
1 Europe Britain 1816
2 Asia India June 13, 1947
3 North America America April 25, 1947
4 Africa Egypt July 16, 1957
5 Australia Australia February 15, 1960
6 South America Argentina January 1, 1962

The formal beginning of Nepal’s international relation is found to have started from the time when Junga Bahadur Rana made his visit to Britain in 1850 AD. Likewise, the treaty of peace and friendship was signed between Nepal and British government in 1923 during the rule of Chandra Shamsher.

Nepal entered international world after it had established diplomatic relations with China, Soviet Union and France following the political change of 2007 BS. Nepal became the member of United Nations on 14th December, 1955AD and participated in Wangdung Conference of Afro-Asian Association in the same year.

By participating in the summit of Nonaligned countries in 1961 AD, Nepal has been participating in different forums of the world as an active member to date. In the Summit of Non-Aligned countries, Nepal has been putting its views on the issues like colonialism, racism, apartheid, transit right of landlocked countries etc. It is due to the nonaligned foreign policy that Nepal does not have any external pressure in the international world and this has become the pillar of foreign policy of Nepal.

According to the Charter of the United Nations, Nepal has been putting forward its views on disarmament, against apartheid and colonialism and about the unconditional cessation of interference by foreign forces to any country.

As a result, Nepal was elected as a member of the Security Council twice. Nepal has been involved in the committees formed by the United Nations.

Nepal has made its positive image among the international community due to its non-alignment policy. Nepal has also obtained the membership of different UN agencies.

As a founding member of the non-aligned movement, Nepal wishes for world peace. It has been mentioned in the Constitution of Nepal that the foreign policy will be conducted being based on the Charter of the United Nations, non-alignment,principles of Panchasheel, international law and the norms of world peace, taking into consideration of the overall interest of the nation, while remaining active in safeguarding the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and national interest of Nepal, and that the international relation will be guided by reviewing treaties concluded in the past, and making treaties, agreements based on equality and mutual interest. As per the same, the foreign policy of Nepal at present has been conductedbeing based on the Charter of the United Nations, nonalignment, principles of Panchasheel, international law and norms of the world peace.

It has been clear that Nepal is committed to proceed its foreign policy and international relation with the arrangement that the state will adopt the policy ofinstitutionalizing peace in Nepal based on international norms by establishing collaborative good relationship with neighboring ally countries and all other countries on the basis of equality in economic, social and other sectors.

In the context that Nepal is now a federal democratic republican state, the conducting of Nepal’s foreign policy, international relations and diplomacy is the sole power of the federation although its main structure is of three levels; namely the Federation, the State and the Local level.

The state and local levels can do the functions on the matters related to international relations only in consultation and coordination and with approval from the federation.


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