India seeks political solution to problems facing Nepal

New Delhi, Dec 2: India on Wednesday sought a political solution to the problems in Nepal while asserting that it has always stood for peace, prosperity and progress in the Himalayan nation.

In a meeting with visiting Nepali Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India sought a political solution to the problems in Nepal, where protests against the new constitution have literally closed the borders with India and led to massive shortages in the land-locked nation.

India seeks political solution to Nepal

Sushma Swaraj reiterated the "need for urgent political solution to political problems facing Nepal", External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Nepal's new constitution has evoked strong resentment from the southern Terai region where Madhesi political parties have launched violent protests alleging that their interests had been ignored.

The protests have led to a blockade of essential supplies from India to Nepal. Most border crossing points on the Nepal side have been shut due to the protests.

Sushma Swaraj assured Thapa "that there is no hindrance to supplies from India. But Nepal needs to normalise situation asap", Swarup tweeted.

In a statement in parliament on Wednesday, Sushma Swaraj said that "India has always stood for peace, prosperity and progress of Nepal, which is also in India's interest".

"Throughout the process of constitution making in Nepal, India has supported a broad-based and inclusive constitution," she said.

"India has been consistently advising the government of Nepal that the issues facing Nepal are political in nature, which cannot be resolved through force."

The Indian external affairs minister, in her statement in the Lok Sabha, said that "disaffected sections of the Nepalese population have been causing obstructions at the India-Nepal border from the Nepalese side, in protest against the Constitution promulgated by Nepal on September 20, 2015".

"There is no hindrance from the Indian side. Government of India has facilitated supplies wherever possible. Several thousand trucks have remained stranded for weeks and have been waiting on the Indian side of the border crossings," she said.

"The primary crossing of Raxaul-Birgunj, which accounts for two-thirds of our trade, remains closed from their side for more than two months. However, every day several hundred cargo trucks have still been passing through those crossing points that are open and available," Sushma Swaraj added.

She stated that despite constraints, the Indian Oil Corporation has delivered petrol, oil and lubricants (POL) supplies to the extent possible.

A lot of medical consignment, including those carried by trucks, were cleared through the India-Nepal border in November, she said.

"We are also assisting in re-routing stranded POL tankers and vehicles carrying medical supplies through other available crossing points, as also airlift," the minister said.

While continuing to advise and encourage all political parties to address the causes underlying the present state of confrontation credibly and effectively, India would continue to maintain close engagement and bilateral exchanges, as well as extend all assistance in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Nepal, Sushma Swaraj said.


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