ANHS congratulates Daniel Loebell, who was selected as the winner of the 2022 Dor Bahadur. Bista Prize for his paper “Nepal: the BIT-less holdout among India's BRI Neighbours.”. The Dor Bahadur Bista Prize honors the life, career, and service of Dor Bahadur Bista, Nepal’s first anthropologist and former Honorary President of the ANHS predecessor organization, the Nepal Studies Association (NSA). This prize recognizes outstanding scholarship by graduate students in any discipline whose research focuses on the Himalayas.
Daniel Loebell’s paper explores why Nepal, unlike other India-contiguous neighbor states who are participating in the Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI), does not have a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with China. Nepal, also, is formally engaged with the BRI and actively seeks foreign direct investment, but will not sign a BIT with China. The author argues that the Nepali government’s reluctance stems neither from internal bureaucratic intrigues or its historic ties to India. Rather, Nepal has adopted a “Soft-Law” policy with all its neighbor-investors. Soft Law refers to guidelines, policy declarations, or codes of conduct which govern interactions between countries, but are not directly enforceable. Nepal seems to have adopted a Soft Law policy in order to have more flexibility in resolving disputes over investments with China or with other state investors.About the Dor Bahadur Bista Prize