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International and Regional Organizations

Since the early 1950s, Nepal has pursued a calculated nonaligned policy and has become an active participant in international organizations. Nepal was admitted to the UN in 1955. Prior to its admission, Nepal already was a member of several specialized UN agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (1951); the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (1952); the World Health Organization (1953); and the Economic Council for Asia and the Far East (1954). Kathmandu often voted with the nonaligned group at the UN. In 1961 Nepal became a member of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF--see Glossary). Nepal also was a member of the Universal Postal Union, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Red Cross, and a host of other international organizations.

As a member of the Group of 72, Nepal was a vociferous champion for a new international economic order for the equitable distribution of resources and services between the developed countries and the developing world. In 1977 Nepal motivated its major foreign aid donors to form an aid-Nepal consortium to improve Nepal's ability to coordinate aid projects (see Foreign Aid , ch. 3).

Kathmandu tended to use its membership in international organizations as a forum to articulate its difficulties with New Delhi. For example, Nepal's position on the trade and transit disputes was aired at IMF and World Bank meetings. Nevertheless, most of the time Nepal voted with India in the UN. In 1987 Nepal enhanced its image in the UN when the General Assembly decided to establish a Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in South Asia headquartered at Kathmandu. In June 1988, for the second time in twenty years, Nepal was elected to a two-year term as a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council. At the request of the UN secretary general, Nepal sent observers and troops to supervise the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Nepal also participated in various other forums for lessdeveloped nations. In February 1985, Nepal hosted the twenty-fourth session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee. Nepal participated in the thirtieth anniversary commemoration of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1985 and the extraordinary meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Nonaligned Countries on Namibia in New Delhi, at which it reiterated its support for the Namibian people.

In all the nonaligned summits held since 1961, the Nepalese delegation has been led by the king. In these summits, Nepal relentlessly has pleaded for the acceptance of peaceful coexistence and the right to remain free from military involvement.

Nepal scored a diplomatic victory in 1986 when, by unanimous decision, Kathmandu was chosen as the venue for the permanent secretariat of SAARC. In 1987 Nepal organized the first regional summit of SAARC in Kathmandu in which King Birendra reaffirmed a commitment to peace, stability, and regional cooperation. The success of this meeting and the conclusion of agreements to establish a SAARC food security reserve and to suppress terrorism enhanced Nepal's prestige. Although bilateral issues were not allowed to be raised in SAARC meetings, Nepal used the forum to parley with the smaller states of the region on the basis of a commonality of fear of Indian preeminence.

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Scholarship on contemporary political developments in Nepal is limited. Although outdated, Leo E. Rose and John T. Scholz's Nepal: Profile of a Himalayan Kingdom; Leo E. Rose and Margaret W. Fisher's The Politics of Nepal; Frederick H. Gaige's Regionalism and National Unity in Nepal; and Rishikesh Shaha's Nepali Politics remain outstanding contributions on the subject. On recent political developments in Nepal, Rishikesh Shaha's Politics in Nepal, 1980-1990 is an eminently readable account. The chapter on Nepal in Craig Baxter et al.'s Government and Politics in South Asia is useful in providing a regional perspective. Roop Singh Baraith's Transit Politics in South Asia and Parmanand's The Nepali Congress since Its Inception are useful collateral works. The Hoover Institution's Yearbook on International Communist Affairs covers activities of the Nepalese communists.

The complete text with amendments of the Nepali constitutions can be found in Albert P. Blaustein and Gisbert H. Flanz's Constitutions of the Countries of the World. Although Nepal's administrative structure is in transition, Hem Narayan Agrawal's The Administrative System of Nepal and Rishikesh Shaha's Essays in the Practice of Government in Nepal are basic resources. On human rights issues, Amnesty International's Annual Report and special reports as well as Asia Watch's special reports on Nepal are extremely useful.

There is no comprehensive up-to-date work on Nepal's international relations and foreign policy. Leo E. Rose's Nepal: Strategy for Survival and S.D. Muni's Foreign Policy of Nepal are notable works. Of the several works on bilateral relations, the following are useful: Ramakant's Nepal-China and India; Shankar Kumar Jha's Indo-Nepal Relations; T.R. Ghoble's China-Nepal Relations and India; and Rabindra K. Das's Nepal and Its Neighbors. For reportage on Nepalese politics and international affairs, weekly reports in the Far Eastern Economic Review and its Asia Yearbook, annual essays on Nepal in Asian Survey, and Europa World Year Book are good sources. More detailed daily chronicles can be found in the Joint Publications Research Service's JPRS Report: Near East and South Asia; and the Asian Recorder. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of September 1991

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Nepal Table of Contents