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Kamala Sarup: Zone of Peace

Zone of Peace

By Kamala Sarup

The Nepalese people cannot forget how on his Coronation, King Birendra made an official proposal that Nepal be declared as a international ''Zone of Peace''. The Peace Zone Proposal aimed at strengthening the sovereignty, independence, national integrity and development of this country.

The Nepalese people still remembering how King Birendra gave logic to this idea in a speech delivered at the Algiers Non-aligned Summit as, "I also wish to declare that in making a proposition for the Zone of Peace, we are not prompted out of fear or threat from any country or quarter". As heirs to a country that has always lived in independence we wish to see that our freedom and independence shall not be thwarted by the changing flux of time, when understanding is replaced by misunderstanding, when conciliation is replaced by belligerency and war. It is with such a perspective view of the future that with the help of our friends we seek peace." The proposal of Peace Zone, has been extensively prompted towards peace and betterment of Nepal.

Even Nepalese cannot forget how former Indian Prime Minister I. K. Gujral said: "In the political turmoil in Nepal, King Birendra was the stabilizing influence." Born in 1945, King Birendra commanded great respect and played a key role in promoting democracy, remarkable contributions for peace, and constitutional monarchy and he was a sincere person keen on Nepal's development and attempted to reform the education sector. Nepalese people cannot forget how King Birendra set up five development regions designed to improve specifically the lives of the people and he pushed for regional cooperation in South Asia and some even credit him initiating for SAARC.

Accordingly, King Birendra also had stated: "We adhere to the policy of non-alignment because we believe that it brightens the prospects of peace." So, we all Nepalese follow and respect this policy and try to strengthen peace. The late King was a widely traveled man and established personal rapport with world leaders who have mourned his death.

Nepal's Peace Zone Proposal is aspirations of the United Nations and the principles of international law. Five points that are the tenets of Peace Zone Proposal, were unflinching support of Nepal's foreign policy of non-alignment and peaceful coexistence; internal security and political stability; uninterrupted process of all-round development of economy and mobilisation of internal resources of Nepal; good relations with neighbouring and other friendly countries based on principles of Panchsheel and of Bagdung Conference of 1965.

On May 24, 1979, King Birendra had announced on Radio Nepal that there would be a national referendum in the near future. Birendra's response to this challenge was to announce a referendum to decide between a non-party and a multi-party system. This referendum represented the first time in modern history the democratic culture in this country.

King Birendra justified his political decisions. Even after the transfer of power to parliament, King Birendra never made any attempt to recover his former position by force. For example in April 1990, Birendra lifted the ban on political activity and appointed an interim government to pave the way for elections. After four years of corrupt and incompetent rule by the Nepali Congress in November 1994, the Nepalese people voted again. Even, in 1996, Parliament was dissolved by the Communist government, but when this was not accepted by the Supreme Court Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikary resigned. In 1997 Sher Bahadur Deuba unexpectedly lost a vote of confidence and was also forced to resign. King Birendra never interfered in the functioning of the governments.

King Birendra's death caused the loss for Nepal a well-loved King. King Birendra proved himself deeply understanding Nepalese people. Even Nepalese cannot forget how King worked very hard to accelerate the economic development of landlocked Nepal and always acted with responsibility and in the midst of the instability in the political parties, he was the only source of stability in the country.

Nepalese people are remembering with great respect how King Birendra said over the years, India and China have given great understanding to Nepal's efforts in defending national sovereignty and safeguarding national dignity and provided Nepal selfless help. Birendra believed that Nepal should have good relations with India and China. King Birendra paid his first official visit to India in October 1973 and went to China two months later.

Nepal believes in the five holy principles of "Panchasheel" - non-interference, non-alignment, peaceful co-existence, friendship and peaceful settlement. Nepal does not interfere or align with other countries in aggression, but it tries to foster the friendly relationship through peace and harmony. It is essential that all the institutions established by the Constitution be effectively strengthened to consolidate democracy. Unless people in Nepal's villages and towns do not feel empowered through resources available to them for education, threats to peace and democracy will always be there."


( Kamala Sarup is editor to

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