The formal relations between Nepal and the UK that started in 1816 has ever since remained cordial and friendly and has continued to flourish to the mutual benefit of both countries. The Treaty of Sugauli (1816) first provided for the exchange of accredited Ministers to each other’s court. This continued until 1923 when a new Treaty of Friendship between Great Britain and Nepal was signed. Subsequently the status of British Representative in Kathmandu was upgraded to the level of an Envoy. In 1934, Nepal established a legation in London and the two countries exchanged Ministers Plenipotentiary and Envoys Extraordinary. In 1947, the status of these representatives was promoted to the level of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
Nepal and the UK celebrated bicentennial of the establishment of diplomatic relations throughout the year 2018 with a number of commemorative events and the exchange of visits.
The British Gurkhas is an important feature of the friendship between the two countries. The Gurkhas’ service in the British army officially started on 24 April 1815 after the Treaty of Sugauli. After the independence of India, the recruitment of Gurkha Army was organized by way of the Tripartite Agreement of 1947 among Nepal, India and the UK.
Exchange of visits
Exchange of visits has been a feature of Nepal-UK relations, starting from Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana’s visit to UK in 1850. There have been several visits from the British royals including Queen Elizabeth twice, in 1960 and 1986. Some of the major recent visits are mentioned below:
- Prime Minister Rt. Hon. K P Sharma Oli visited the UK on 10-12 June 2019. The Prime Minister held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Ms. Theresa May and a Joint communique was issued on the occasion of the visit.
- Minister for Finance Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada visited UK from 20-23 February 2019 to take part in a Nepal Development Conference organized by the Embassy of Nepa.
- DPM and Minister for Health and Population Mr. Upendra Yadav visited UK in October 2018 to participate in a conference on mental health organized by the UK in London.
- Minister for Forest and Environment Mr. Shakti Bahadur Basnet to participate in a conference on wildlife held in October 2018 in London.
- The speaker of Legislature Parliament of Nepal, Mrs. Onsari Gharti led a parliamentary delegation to the UK in April 2016.
- DPM and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Kamal Thapa visited the UK in 2015 and 2016. Foreign Minister Mr. Mahendra Bahadur Pandey visited the UK in June 2014
- Chief Justices Mr. Gopal Prasad Parajuli and Mr. Kedar Prasad Giri paid official visits to the UK in 2017 and 2008 respectively.
- Prime Minister, Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba paid an official visit to the UK in 1996 and 2002. Prime Ministers Mr. Man Mohan Adhikari (in 1995) and Mr. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai (in 1999) had also visited the UK.
- Foreign Ministers Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat and Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani visited the UK in 1999 and in 1995 respectively.
- Late King Mahendra (in 1960), late King Birendra (in 1980, 1995) and former King Gyanendra (in 2003) visited the UK.
- Chiefs of Army Staff have also paid official visits to the UK. There has been a regular exchange of parliamentary delegations between the two countries.
From the UK:
- International Development Minister and Parliament Undersecretary at the Department of International Development (DFID) Ms. Baroness Sugg visited Nepal in May 2019.
- British State Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mr. Mark Field visited Nepal in May 2018.
- Prince Harry visited Nepal from in March 2016 in connection with Bicentenary celebrations, during which attended the National Girl Summit.
- Secretary of State for International Development, Mr. Justine Greening, and DFID’s Director General, Mr. Joy Hutcheon visited Nepal in May 2015 and Minister for International Development Mr. Desmond Swayne in August 2015.
- Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth office Mr. Hugo Swire June 2014
- Minister of State for International Development Mr. Alan Duncan visited Nepal in 2010 and 2012.
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh paid a state visit to Nepal in 1960 and in 1986. Diana, late Princess of Wales, and Prince Charles paid visits to Nepal in 1993 and 1998.
British cooperation to Nepal started in 1961. British volunteers were engaged in Nepal since 1964 under the British volunteer programme. DFID is the British Government department responsible for providing UK’s official development cooperation to needy countries around the world, including Nepal. DFID opened its office in Kathmandu in 1999.
The UK is one of the largest development partners of Nepal. DFID is implementing its four-year Operational Plan from 2016. It will spend around £500 million during 2016-2020, in such areas as health, education, post-earthquake reconstruction and other social sectors. The UK has extended support to Nepal’s human resource development, including through scholarships provided by various sources of the British Government. The GoN and DFID signed an agreement in 2017; an overarching agreement on the Operational Plan for four years.
The UK is among the top ten trading partners of Nepal. The following figures reflect Nepal’s exports to and imports from UK during the past years:
Value in USD
|2015||25,604,394||16,479,577||19, 124, 817|
Major exports to UK are carpets, ready-made garments, leather and leather goods, Nepali paper and paper products, handicrafts and jewelry. Likewise, major imports from the UK are machinery and parts, aircraft and products, drinks, cosmetics, medicine and medical equipment, textiles, among others.
An agreement on promotion and protection of investment between Nepal and the UK was signed on March 2, 1993.
According to the statistics published by the Department of Industry, the cumulative amount of foreign direct investment from the UK stands at Rs. 7.4 billion until 15 July 2020. There are 184 projects operating with British investment, generating employment for 11,073 people. British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory, has an investment totaling Rs. 8.1 billion.
Nepal-Britain Chamber of Commerce and Industry is active in promoting trade and investment between the two countries.
A sizable number of British tourists visit Nepal for trekking, mountaineering and other leisurely activities. The UK is among the major source countries of tourists for Nepal. Over 60 thousand British nationals have visited Nepal each year from the 2018. Given our historical linkages and increasing people-to-people contacts, there is prospect for an increasing number of tourists from the UK. Keeping this in view, Nepal has been promoting Nepal as an attractive tourist destination for the British nationals.
|No. of Tourists||29,730||46,295||51,058||63,466||61,144|
Source: Tourism Statistics
Europe and the Americas Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs