'I will strengthen ties and make them more productive'
Dr. Shanker Sharma, who was an
Q: How do you plan to take U.S.-Nepal relations forward?
Sharma: I would like to do two things in the broader context. One is to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and make the relationship more productive. Strengthening relations means not to have problems between them. Relations between the
Sharma: I will try to find out in detail the
Q: How do you look at the
Sharma: So far as I know, they are definitely interested in political stability in the country. They are also looking forward to the new constitution being made as soon as possible. And they would like to see a logical conclusion of the peace process at the earliest. The Americans have been providing assistance in that regard as well.
Q: Could you elaborate on the various kinds of assistance being provided by the
Sharma: If I know correctly, I think this is also coming through USAID in
Q: In the past few years, there has been increasing convergence of interests between the Americans and the Indians. How do you view this?
Sharma: Economically, the Americans can have independent policies say in the field of trade, tourism and foreign assistance, that is, in matters relating to bilateral relations. There are certain issues for which the Americans are looking for regional perspectives. For instance on the issue of climate change and food crisis. Politically speaking, I need to find out the issues that they are tying together. But I can’t say anything specifically in that regard.
Q: How do you view the difference in policy that the Chinese and Americans have towards
Q: Some Bhutanese refugees have alleged that the Americans are trying to complicate the problem by pitching for third country resettlement rather than repatriation. What is your take on that?
Sharma: The government has already decided on this matter. Meaning that whatever has happened in the past, a decision has been taken, and we need to ensure its implementation. I have been to
Q: There are some activist groups who say that third country resettlement legitimises the ethnic cleansing undertaken by the Bhutanese government with the support of the Americans and Indians?
Sharma: Now that the decision has been made on the issue, we should focus on implementing it. The refugees are being sent to different countries including the
Q: How do you plan to engage the non-resident Nepalis residing in the
Sharma: There are a couple of ways in which I can ask the NRNs to help me in my mission. I know the Government of Nepal doesn’t have enough resources to promote
Q: Repeated attempts by
Sharma: We need to make our case strong. We first have to look at the commitments made by the developed countries at the LDC summit in
Q: But is it possible to keep politics out of economics?
Sharma: Our liberal economic policies have not changed. We are a member of the WTO, and are preparing to enter the IMF agreement on enhance credit facility. All this indicates the continuation of our liberal policies.