Nepal - Vietnam: So far away, yet always close

Update: 16:00 | 10/05/2018
On the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of Vietnam - Nepal diplomactic ties (May 15, 1975 - May 15, 2018), Dr. Rajesh Kazi Shrestha, Honorary Consul of Vietnam in Nepal granted The World & Vietnam Report an  exclusive interview.
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Vietnam and Nepal will cerebrate the 43rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations on May 15. For nearly half a century, how the traditional friendship relations between Vietnam and Nepal is nurtured and developed by the two countries?

Nepal and Vietnam established diplomatic relationship in May 15, 1975. This is the starting point of our relationship and cooperation. There were numerous exchange of political delegations as well as trade exchanges.

nepal vietnam so far away yet always close
Dr. Rajesh Kazi Shrestha, Honorary Consul of Vietnam in Nepal. (Photo: Himalayan Times)

Beside political exchanges, business and trade association have enhanced the relationship through exchanges of trade delegations and signing MOU between associations. This created opportunity to start trade and business between two countries and establish B2B relationship.

The private companies in Nepal established Nepal-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote trade activities and Government of Vietnam appointed Consul for Nepal on 23 October 2016, which added another brick on bilateral relationship.

The Consulate Office has been initiating to promote trade, investment, culture and tourism between two countries. In recent days, there are increase in number of tourism and trade between two countries. Thus, we can see a gradual development on our relationship in many dimensions. Desires are on both sides to strengthen the relationship forward and I am confident there will be cooperation for our mutual development and benefits.

It is suggested that the development of multifaceted relations between the two countries is not suitable with their potentials, especially in the fields of trade and tourism development, what is your comment on this?

I think trade and tourism development is the most favorable sectors for promotion between Nepal and Vietnam. The trade turnover between the two countries are increasing every year. The major export products from Nepal to Vietnam are meat and meat offal, plants and parts of plants, vegetable products, handicraft items etc. 

nepal vietnam so far away yet always close
Dr. Rajesh Kazi Shrestha (R) and VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc after signing an MOU, April 10, 2018. (Photo: enternews.vn)

While the major imports from Vietnam are electric equipments, machinery, coffee, tea, mate and spices, beverages, fish, food products etc. More and more Nepalese businessmen are visiting Vietnam to explore different products for import. Vietnamese businessmen are also visiting Nepal for investment and importing Nepalese products.

Nepal is the country of high mountains and Himalayas, while there are lot of beautiful beaches and sea activities in Vietnam. There are potentials for the people of both countries to travel as tourists. Vietnamese people love to visit Nepal to see mountains and Himalayas and for adventurous activities like trekking, rafting, jungle safari etc. The visitors to Nepal are always overwhelmed with the natural beauty of Nepal and admires our hospitality, friendly behavior and love.  

It is reported that you has just led a delegation of Nepalese businessmen visiting and working in Vietnam, can you say to reader some achievements of that visit? And what is your and the Nepalese business delegation’s expectations about Vietnam market?

Recent Nepalese delegation to Vietnam was very successful. Vietnam is the emerging market for different products, Nepalese businessmen are willing to visit Vietnam again and again to explore new products. The Nepalese delegates were excited having meetings with different organizations and businessmen of Vietnam.

During the visit, Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed Memorandum of understanding (MOU) for organizational cooperation, information sharing and to trade promotion activities. We had also lead Nepalese companies to participate in Vietnam Expo 2018 which was held in Ha Noi from 11-14 April 2018.

Nepalese companies exhibited Nepalese products at the fair like Thanka painting, Cashmere products, statues, ritual items and handicraft items. It was the attraction at the expo and many Vietnamese buyers are interested in it. I believe participation at the expo not only exchanged and promoted Nepalese products but also established people-to-people relationship.

During the visit, we had opportunity to meet many government authorities and departments, where we have discussed to cooperate and promote trade, tourism and investment between two countries. We have also requested authorities to connect two countries with direct air flights in near future which in future could drastically increase in our bilateral economic, trade and tourism activities.

Nepal is not only a peaceful beautiful country, but also has many similarities in culture and history with Vietnam, can you give our readers more interested information of your beloved country?

Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia, it borders China in the north and India in the south, east, and west. Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world's ten tallest mountains. 

Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world, is located in Nepal. Nepal is a hotspot destination for mountaineers, rock climbers and people seeking adventure. The Hindu and Buddhist heritage of Nepal and its cool weather are also strong attractions. The world heritage site Lumbini, birthplace of Gautama Buddha, is located in Nepal and there are other world heritage sites and important religious pilgrimage sites throughout the country.

Major populations of Vietnam are Buddhist followers and both countries have cultural and religious similarities, we hope there are huge possibilities to promote tourism. More Vietnamese nationalists are visiting Nepal in recent years. Mostly Vietnamese visit Nepal to Visit Lumbini (Birth Place of Lord Buddha) and for tourism activities (like trekking and travel). There are many Buddhist Stupas and monasteries throughout the country.  In the Year 2017, total of 7,131 Vietnamese visited Nepal and every year it is in increasing trend. I hope our binational friendly relationship and people to people will extend more in coming days.

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