NEPAL-UK CELEBRATE 200 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC TIES
Embassy of Nepal, London organized a program to celebrate the 200 years of historic relationship between Nepal and the United Kingdom on Monday 6 January 2014. The ceremony was inaugurated by lighting oil lamps jointly by the Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire - Minister of State for the Foreign Office, the Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan - Minister of State for International Development, and HE Mr Arjun Bahadur Thapa - Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal.
Speaking on the occasion, Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire underscored the need to strengthen the historical bilateral relationship between the UK and Nepal. He also expressed his confidence that after the promulgation of a new constitution followed by political stability, Nepal will attract enormous foreign direct investment. He also hailed the contribution of Gurkhas to the British Armed force.
Speaking as a Guest of Honour the Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan spoke about the historical relationship, which began from the visit of the British Botanist Francis Buchannan-Hamilton in 1802, still deep. He expressed his happiness over Britain being the single largest donor to Nepal and also assured all there that Britain shall remain ahead to help conserve ecology and for sustainable development in Nepal.
Foreign Secretary HE Arjun Bahadur Thapa highlighted the longstanding harmonious relations subsisting between the two countries and commended the contribution of Gurkhas as the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship. He expressed confidence that the relationship shall grow further in the days to come. He also shed lights on the political situation of Nepal and said that Government of Nepal has successfully held the elections to the Constituent Assembly and enduring political stability is looming.
On the occasion, Foreign Secretary Thapa felicitated the Rt. Hon. Sir John Stanley – Chairman of Britain Nepal All Party Parliamentary Group. Receiving the letter of felicitation, Sir John praised the Nepalese and Gurkhas and their contribution to Britain. He recalled his first visit to Nepal in 1983, when he was the Minister for the Armed Forces. He said that he was greatly moved by the warm and cordial hospitality of the Nepalese. H e also said that he enthralled by Nepal’s scenic beauty and majestic Himalayas.
On his welcome remarks, the Ambassador of Nepal to the UK, HE Dr Suresh C Chalise, said “Nepal is the first country to have diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom from South Asia region. Nepal adores and attaches utmost importance to it.” While shedding light on the contribution of the Nepalese in the UK he said “In spite of some challenges of social integration, Nepalese are remarkably contributing to British socio-economic life and also in the democratic process. We have had four Councillors of the Nepalese origin elected to different Councils. In the Service sector, Nepalese are known for running top quality Restaurants and managing a number of security companies. Besides, Nepalese professionals are substantially contributing to the health sector of the UK.”
Her Majesty’s British Ambassador to Nepal, H.E. Andrew J. Sparkes, highlighted the salient features of UK-Nepal relations and said “ On this auspicious occasion celebration of 200 years relationship, we must ponder over the areas of mutual interest on which we could work together to take relationship to the next level”
During the programme, Professor Robin Coningham, Vice Chancellor of Durham University, who leads a UNESCO team in Nepal’s Kapilbastu, to conserve the site wherein Lord Buddha was born, gave a power-point presentation on ‘Lumbini: the Birth Place of Lord Buddha’.
On the occasion, “200 years of Nepal-UK Relations: Commemorative Issue”, published by the Embassy of Nepal, London, was jointly launched by the distinguished guests and VIPs. They included: the Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire, Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan, the Rt. Hon. Sir John Stanley, HE Arjun Bahadur Thapa - Foreign Secretary of Nepal, HE Andrew J. Sparkes – HM’s Ambassador to Nepal and HE Dr Suresh C Chalise - Nepal's Ambassador to the UK. The commemorative issue contains the messages of felicitation from the Rt. Hon. Khil Raj Regmi- the Chairman of Council of Ministers, Government of Nepal, Rt. Hon. David Cameron- Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Hon. Foreign Minister of Nepal Madhav Prasad Ghimire and Rt. Hon. William Hague- the Foreign Secretary of the UK. In his message, Rt. Hon Chairman has said “I am happy to note that enthusiasm being generated by the forthcoming bicentenary of bilateral relations between the two countries.” He further remarked “It is great moment to celebrate.” Likewise Prime Minister Cameroon has said “I am proud of the excellent relationship between Nepal and the UK.” He further remarked, “I am delighted to see the launch of the celebrations to mark the bicentenary of UK-Nepal relations”.
Similarly, an exhibition of the works of Francis Buchannan-Hamilton, which was organised by Dr. Mark Watson, Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, was also jointly inaugurated by the distinguished guests.
The Embassy also distributed tourism related information materials like brochures, posters, postcards, maps, promotional CDs to the guests.
The function and the reception were well attended by a large number of members of parliament, more than 40 Mayors and Mayoress from various boroughs. Other esteemed guests included High Commissioner of Indian, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Former British Ambassadors to Nepal, officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence, DFID, scholars and President of Linnean Society of London, Gallantry award winners, representatives of Brigade of Gurkhas, Archaeological scientists etc. Also present on the occasion were distinguished Nepalese community leaders and Embassy officials.
Embassy of Nepal
06 January 2014