Lawmakers including opposition and ruling coalition members, on Wednesday drew serious attention of the government towards the proposed State Partnership Program, which Nepal is expected to sign. While Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, on Wednesday said that no agreement will be signed without forging a national consensus, lawmakers and the general public are concerned with the strategic alliance, as it could spur geopolitical conflict in the country.

UML’s parliamentarian Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, while demanding a clarification from the government, warned “Nepal should not conduct or be involved in in any activities that would breach the independent and balanced foreign policy of Nepal.”

Similarly, Gyawali viewed that it was beyond imagination for the Nepali Army to go for peacekeeping operations guided by strategies of any individual country unless at the call of the United Nations.

Meanwhile, the US Embasssy in Nepal, organising a press meet on Wednesday, has said that “the State Partnership Programme (SPP) is not, and has never been a security or military alliance”. While the Embasssy maintained the strategic alliance was focused on supporting US first responders in dealing with natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, and wildfires, nevertheless SPP’s official website states, “through SPP, the National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals but also leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres.

Nepal applied for SPP in 2015 and 2017, and Nepal’s application was finally accepted in 2019 – interestingly during K P Sharma Oli’s leadership, when Pradeep Kumar Gyawali served as Foreign Minister.

According to SPP’s website, the State Partnership Program has been successfully building relationships for over 25 years and now includes 85 partnerships with 93 nations around the globe.