Friday, 6 August, 2021

Keep Up National Unity

On June 18, President Bidya Devi Bhandari authenticated the Constitution (2nd Amendment) Bill 2077 after both the Houses of the federal parliament endorsed it unanimously. The Bill legitimised the governments’ decision to insert the updated map in the coat of arms. The new political and administrative map brings Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani into Nepal’s territories, which India has been illegally occupying since early 1960s. The new map and national emblem will come into use in all administrative works carried out by the three-tier governments and other agencies. The Bill to amend the constitution was unanimously endorsed by the House of Representatives on June 13 and the National Assembly on June 18, respectively. The adoption of new map opens a new chapter in the political and diplomatic history of Nepal. First of all, this demonstrates unprecedented level of unity among the political parties when it comes to safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation. The Madhes-based parties which used to remain silent on the land encroachment by India showed their patriotic stance in the defence of the national border. Their newfound position helps them rise above the regional politics and parochialism.
The second important aspect of this historic decision is that national unity and solidarity has become a great national asset, enabling the government to confidently present itself before the Indian side in course of arduous negotiation to be conducted in the future. While furnishing replies to the queries of NA members, the other day, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had praised the political parties for extending solidarity to get back the infringed land. He said that Nepalis would stand united for national integrity and sovereignty of the country irrespective of their political faith and orientations. This obviously set an example that there should not be division and bickering on the matter of sovereignty and foreign policy of country. Nepali political fraternity often draws flak for failing to put up a united face against the hegemonic attitude and behaviour of the foreign nations. Now Nepal government, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, should work to translate this broader political unity into a common and uniform foreign policy vision which is the key to enhancing the capability and image of nation abroad.
This unity should be also emulated in dealing with other national problems facing the citizens. For instance, the country is grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown has been relaxed to resume business and restore normalcy. But the virus cases are increasing by leaps and bounds. Though the death toll from the coronavirus is not high in proportion to the soaring number of infections, the deadly contagion has posed a severe threat to the people’s life. Reports of mismanagement of quarantines and isolation wards for the COVID-19 suspects and patients are making the headlines. The virus’s threat has further increased with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Nepalis from abroad. Like the political parties forged unity in preserving the nation’s sovereignty, they should stand united and take collective efforts to contain the pandemic and save the lives of people. Then only can the nation be able to overcome the crisis triggered by the pandemic.