Saturday, January 31, 2015

Nepal should benefit from Afghanistan's membership in South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation ( SAARC)

 After a 12 year gap, the 18th SAARC Summit is being held in Kathmandu on 26-27 November 2014. With less than a week to go, we present a timeline of major events and achievements of past SAARC summits. Among the SAARC member state the Afghanistan is youngest nation. This SAARC summits is going to be held in Nepal. Nepal and Afghanistan can benefit from their partnership in this regional network.

Being a development aid worker and working in Afghanistan more than half decade I found there are key areas where both countries can mutually benefit. I am suggesting to my government HE. Premier, Sushil Koirala should take initiation to take lead role to talk in during HE. President, Aasharf Ghani’s during his visit in Kathmandu Nepal.

Both countries needs to create enabling environment for diplomatic relationship, it requires to have formal office set up. Both countries need to require at least consular offices both in Kabul and Kathmandu in near future it can be opened as embassy. These consular offices will be helpful to have bi-lateral relationship. Now Nepalese Embassy of Islamabad is looking to Kabul, but being an SAARC member nation it requires to have formal full time office in Kabul. These offices will be helpful to take care more than 10000 Nepalese in Afghanistan. In Kabul there is significant number of professionals and security people working in the Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan has one of the vibrant young populations in South Asia, who are having great expectations to go for abroad study. In Nepal there are plenty of government and private sectors colleges and universities who can provide high level standard education to the Afghan youths. In the same way, big number of populations of Afghanistan is going to India and Pakistan for medical facilities. Nepal can attract those populations for medical tourism.

Nepal can get high benefit from increasing number of tourists of Afghanistan. Rich Afghans are incredible to spend their money for their entertainment. Natural beauty of Nepal can easily attract to them. To promote tourism it required to make more flexibility for the issuing visa for Afghan citizens. Nepal is still enlisted to the Afghans in non-arrival state status in terms issuing visa. This requires immediate remove and treat to them equally as a other SAARC nations. The both civil aviation needs to have formal memorandum of understanding to operate air flights Kabul to Kathmandu vice vs. These air flights will be enable much better relationship among the two nations.

The Afghanistan is one of the historical country where “Silk Route” is famous for their trade and business. This “Silk Route” which is link up to Nepal and Tibet. The historical tie up trade between two countries needs to revive and promote trade and business at the private sectors level. The ‘peoples to people’ and ‘government to government’ will relationship will enhance better partnership and strengthen relationship among these two countries. 

Mr. KC is working in Afghanistan since last 5 years in various capacities at the government/UNDP and an INGO as a development practicener. He is reachable on;