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Editorial: The Mustang Phobia in Nepal

April 30, 2009

The Telegraph Nepal
April 29, 2009

Diplomacy is a very sensitive and delicate
affair. Any mishandling or for that matter
understanding the diplomatic conducts may have
its negative impact on the bilateral relations
which ultimately might damage the prestige of a
particular nation which misinterprets the
diplomatic conducts of a particular country or countries.

Thus what is advisable to all and more so to the
Nepal’s luxurious and salaried, both from within
and without, diplomats posted at the Nepalese
foreign ministry that unless found engaged or
indulged in activities that is detrimental to
Nepal’s relations with third country no diplomat
should be suspected or taken in a negative manner
as it might dampen the very cordial relations
existing with that particular country and the
friendly country in all likelihood may retaliate
and treat the suspecting country in a different
manner. For example, the development partners may
suspend their donations to this country which we
can’t afford at least for some more decades.

Our attention has been drawn towards what the
residential German Ambassador Verena Gräfin von
Roedern told a gathering organized to celebrate
the concluding ceremony of the fifty years of the
establishment of Nepal-German ties the other day
in Kathmandu-to be precise on April 24, 2009.

A pretty annoyed German Ambassador said that her
recent trip to Mustang valley was wrongly
interpreted by a section of Nepali media and
appealed the Nepal government to remain alert as
and when residential Ambassadors leave Kathmandu
for a short trip to some scenic and marvelous
tourist destinations in Nepal whether it be in
the eastern or the far western part of the
country and not suspect the very motives of the visiting diplomats.

If taken negatively, may bring about a sort of
bitter feeling in the minds of those envoys who
happen to make a travel to such areas inside Nepal.

"Development partners must remain sincere to each
other and exchange views" is how she sent a
signal to the media and concurrently to the
incumbent government not to suspect her genuine
credentials which was just limited to see Mustang
through her own eyes and to contribute to the
expansion of the budding tourism industry in Nepal and nothing more than that.

In her opinion such trips to exclusive areas like
Mustang by the residential Ambassadors will go a
long way in promoting Nepal’s tourism sector. No
negative thinking please is what her message was
in essence or else face the music eventually.

What we could grasp from her version which was
made public April 24, 2009, though in a smiling
way but the pain she have had in her hearts,
could well be noticed which became abundantly
evident when she said that “if you take such
visits in a negative way then you can’t promote
tourism in Nepal for which you claim to have been
pretty much of late”. The hidden message lay here.

The fact is that some Ambassadors made trips to
Mustang which borders the Tibet autonomous region
of China. But do that or should that mean that
the envoys who individually made a trip to
Mustang had gone exclusively to encourage the
anti-China paraphernalia as is being given to
understand by a section of the Nepali media?

Unless one is found guilty, no one should be
suspected is the essence of natural justice and
law. More so suspecting the friendly envoys will ultimately boomerang.

Had the visiting Ambassadors encouraged
anti-China elements by being inside Mustang
recently then the Chinese authorities who remain
twenty four hours alert on the other side of the
border must have taken note of such happenings.
However, so far the Chinese side has not
expressed even a single word against such trip of
foreign envoys then we too must remain silent and
stop suspecting those friends who mean much to
our developmental endeavors. The Chinese are not
fools not to have taken note of such diplomatic
visits to a place that is very near and dear to them.

Yes! If we have some proofs than we can initiate
actions against the erratic envoys as per the
diplomatic procedures. But since we have been
accustomed to hearsay and thus get carried away
by the rumors that are at times spread
deliberately to defame some foreign dignitaries whom some apparently dislike.

Mustang must not be made a big issue than it
deserves. Mustang is a nice place where tourists
would like to spend some moments and cherish the
memory for ever. In fact Mustang is a must place
for visit both by the foreigners and nationals
alike. The strategic location of Mustang has all
the more made Mustang a tourist destination.

Mustang must not be taken as a frightening place
simply because this place borders China. Mind
that there are so many tourist destinations which
border China. Should then we close the entry of
foreigners and more so of the posted envoys for a
fear that practically doesn’t exist?

It should be the duty of the Chinese on the other
side to safeguard their own territories to which
they are doing effectively. It is China’s concern
on the other side of the border but inside our
territories, we must remain vigilant.

If we go on suspecting foreigners then we will
not only loose our friendship but also axe the
likelihood of the earning of foreign currency reserve which we need.

In addition, Mustang, by the way has benefited
much with such trips being made by foreigners and
the local unemployed youths and residents
definitely have pocketed some money which must
have come to them as an extra benefits. It must
have supported the penniless pony and horse boys.

Mustang, we appeal, be made a place for the
tourist’s easy access. The necessary travel
restrictions can be and must be imposed by the
government which is, we suppose, is the right of
any legitimate government. That’s all.
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