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Nepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday emphasised the importance of finding a durable solution based on consensus to Nepal’s political problems during a telephonic conversation with his Nepalese counterpart K P Oli.Oli called up Modi and briefed him on the political developments in his country, days after the Nepalese Cabinet decided to amend the Constitution to address keys demands of Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, from the country’s Terai region over proportional representation and constituency delimitation.”Prime Minister emphasised the importance of finding a durable solution to the political problems facing Nepal based on consensus or ‘sahmati’,” an External Affairs Ministry release in New Delhi said, adding that Oli “briefed him on the political developments in Nepal”.According to the Nepalese premier’s press advisor Pramod Dahal, during the 20-minute conversation, Modi invited Oli to visit India. Oli accepted the invitation and said he will pay an official visit to India soon after the situation is normalised, Dahal said.Modi also extended his good wishes to the friendly people of Nepal for the New Year 2016. Oli would visit India before undertaking his trip to China, which was earlier supposed to be his maiden visit overseas, sources in the Nepal government said. The Nepalese Prime Minister extended thanks to Modi for welcoming Nepal government’s move to forward a Bill in the Parliament for amending the Constitution to address the demands raised by the agitating Madhesi Front.During the talk, the two leaders also discussed matters relating to improving relations between Nepal and India, Dahal said. Oli said he wanted to see Nepal-India relations move towards a positive direction while also drawing Modi’s attention towards the obstructions prevailing in the Nepal- India border check-points, according to Dahal.He requested Modi to make arrangements for smoothening the Raxaul-Birgunj check-point, the major trading point between the two countries. In response, Modi said he was always in favour of easing Indo-Nepal border trading points and asserted that India was not creating any obstructions in the movement in the border checkpoint, Oli’s Press Advisor added.Modi told Oli that all the border points except the Raxaul-Birgunj check-point are operating in a normal way and the obstructions were created in the Raxaul-Birgunj point due to continued protests by the agitating Madhesi parties, according to Dahal.Modi also recalled that he had instructed the External Affairs Minister to ensure that medicines reach Nepal through airlifting to avoid their scarcity due to agitations there. The two Prime Ministers also discussed issues relating to bilateral interest on the occasion. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

No big brotherly approach towards Nepal, says Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj rubbished the charge that India was imposing a blockade of supplies even as she asserted that Narendra Modi government would follow the policy of the previous government with regard to Nepal.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha on Monday.

PTI
Rejecting the allegation of adopting “big brotherly” approach towards Nepal, India today said it respects its sovereignty and wants to see the neighbouring country itself resolve the present crisis through consensus as violence could have impact even on India.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj rubbished the charge that India was imposing a blockade of supplies even as she asserted that Narendra Modi government would follow the policy of the previous government with regard to Nepal.Replying to a debate in Rajya Sabha on India-Nepal relations during which members expressed concern over the deterioration in ties, she said the government shares their sentiments as also the worries of Nepal which has been hit by a blockade of supplies from India due to an agitation by Madhesis over the newly-adopted Constitution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Still a way can be found… We are doing the same… We want to see a resolution through consensus so that supplies could be restored at the earliest,” Swaraj said adding India has conveyed this the Nepal government as well as the agitating Madhesis. “We hope some solution will emerge in 5-7 days,” she said.To the allegations that India was adopting a “big brotherly” approach, the minister said, “instead, we are adopting an elderly brother’s approach, a caring and sharing approach.” Rejecting the charge of interference into the neighbour’s affairs, she said, “Nepal is a sovereign country and we respect its sovereigntyl. We are not prescriptive but only give advice.” “Like elder brother, our attitude is that of caring and sharing and not of showing arrogance, which a big brother does,” Swaraj said.Allaying apprehensions voiced by JD-U leader Sharad Yadav, the External Affairs Minister said there is no need to have any doubts over the government’s intentions.”The present government will also follow the same path on which previous governments have handled Nepal. There is no difference between the deeds and actions of the government. This government does what is speaks,” she said.She said India is worried also because if the agitation by Madhesis turns violent, it will affect this country.”We told them this that if there is any violent agitation, then India’s peaceful border with Nepal will be restless and this could affect India’s relations with Nepal…We told them, this border of ours at least is peaceful. We do not want this also to be volatile,” she said.During her speech, Swaraj attacked Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for making some adverse comments about India’s role and for suggesting that rather than the External Affairs Minister, somebody “authoritarian” was dictating the policy, an apparent attack on the Prime Minister.”Mani has the habit of creating rifts. He has tried to create a rift between me and my leaders.. He also tried to create rift with Nepal,” she said. She also took exception to Aiyar’s remarks that an Indian delegation should go to Nepal and convey that the “Modi government rather than India” was behind the situation.Countering the charge that India was blocking supplies to Nepal, Swaraj said routes have been closed because of the protest by Madhesis in which India no role.”Who can be so foolish to turn goodwill into hostility? How can we collect lakhs of people for protest?… We are keen to send the supplies,” she said, while telling the members not to accept versions to the contrary.”We are not inhuman… 11,206 trucks, loaded with supplies, are waiting at the Raxaul-Birganj border post. They are not able to move forward because of the protest and we are not allowing them to come back, thinking they could get some chance to proceed,” she said.At the same time, she said, India is looking at alternative routes to send supplies like medicines. 864 trucks have gone into Nepal from one such route yesterday, compared to 450 trucks which usually go. She said clearing of the routes is not in the hands of India.”We can push the supplies either by firing at the protestors or crushing them under the trucks. Both are not desirable,” Swaraj said, adding “we are trying to find a political consensus.”

Indian news channels ‘switched off’ in Nepal by protestors

Amid agitation by the Joint Madhesi Front in the Himalayan nation, scores of goods laden trucks are stranded on the India-Nepal border. Madhesis have been protesting over ‘discriminatory’ seven-province model of new Constitution.

Nepalese students holding placards take part in a protest to show solidarity against the border blockade in Kathmandu, Nepal November 27, 2015.

Reuters
Nepal Cable TV operators on Sunday were forced to switch off nine Indian news channels by protesters against the unofficial ‘blockade of goods’ into the country.”We got a letter from Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) that we should switch all the Hindi or Indian channels and we had a meeting at the Federation of Nepal Cable Television. Lots of our members are being threatened, especially in districts, that if we don’t switch off the channels, they can do anything,” Sudhir Parajuli, president, federation of Nepal Cable TV operators told ANI exclusively.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “So, we got pressure from our members as well. They said that instead of switching off Indian channels, we have decided only to switch off Indian news channel,” he added.Amid agitation by the Joint Madhesi Front in the Himalayan nation, scores of goods laden trucks are stranded on the India-Nepal border. Madhesis have been protesting over ‘discriminatory’ seven-province model of new Constitution.Earlier, expressing concern over growing ?anti- India? sentiment in Nepal, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae had on Friday said, “We sense that this is being used for certain objective – political or otherwise.”

Unwise to blame India for economic blockade: Nepal’s ex-PM Bhattarai

Bhattarai warned that the Terai agitation is turning violent and it could get out of hand.

The issue of border dispute has become a subject of debate for the last one year, according to Bhattarai who quit the UCPN-Maoist two months ago to form a new political force.

Former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai on Saturday said that the political crisis in southern Nepal could be resolved if the country can re-demarcate the boundaries of federal provinces through amendments to the new Constitution as demanded by the Indian-origin Madhesis. The issues relating to five districts, three in eastern Nepal and two in the west could not be resolved due to the arrogance and personal interests shown of the four leaders belonging to opposition Nepali Congress and ruling CPN-UML, Bhattarai said.The issue of border dispute has become a subject of debate for the last one year, according to Bhattarai who quit the UCPN-Maoist two months ago to form a new political force. Bhattarai said he is ready to broker a deal between the agitating Madhesi parties and the government to resolve the current impasse. Urging the government to respond quickly to the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties, Bhattarai warned that the Terai agitation is turning violent and it could get out of hand.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He asked the government to implement the past agreements relating to proportional representation, election constituency determination on the basis of population and re-demarcation of the boundaries to address the demands of the Madhesis. He said that the Terai agitation and blockade of the key trading points between Nepal and India over the past two months have severely damaged the Nepalese economy. The damage to the national economy due to the agitation is nearly double as compared to the damage caused by the devastating earthquake in April, he said.Nepalese people have faced hardship from time to time due to the leadership’s inability to strike a balance in Nepal’s relationship with its two giant neighbours, India and China, he said. He said although the economic blockade on the Indian border is inappropriate, it is not wise just to blame India without addressing Nepal’s own internal problems.The issue of Nepal-India relations should be tackled through diplomatic channels, while at the same time the issues raised by the agitating Madhesi parties should also be resolved through political dialogue, Bhattarai said. The present problem could not be resolved by blaming each other or by firing verbal missiles, he said.

India wants cordial relations with Pakistan and Nepal: Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Asked about Nepal, which has been witnessing protests by Madhesis over adoption of a new Constitution, Rajnath Singh said New Delhi wants very good relations with Kathmandu too.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh
File Photo
PTI
India wants cordial relations with Pakistan and Nepal and will do everything to further improve ties with its neighbours, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.”Pakistan is our neighbouring country. We want very cordial relations with Pakistan. But Pakistan too has to reciprocate,” he told reporters at a ‘Diwali Milan’.Asked about Nepal, which has been witnessing protests by Madhesis over adoption of a new Constitution, Singh said New Delhi wants very good relations with Kathmandu too.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We want very good relations with Nepal too. We will do everything for betterment of our relations with our neighbours,” he said.Asked whether differences have crept in the ruling PDP- BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, the Home Minister said the coalition government in the state will continue. “Alliance will continue. There is no threat to it,” he said.Commenting on the protests during the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said such incidents had taken place in the past too.”But you should remember that only a handful people were there (in protests),” he said.Singh said law-and-order situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved to a great extent and ever since the NDA government came to power in the Centre in May 2014, 165 militants belonging to Lashker-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and others, were eliminated.Giving statistics about the infiltration attempts from across the border, he said in 2013, there were 277 infiltration attempts of which 97 were successful and security forces killed 67 militants during the year.In 2014, there were 220 attempts of infiltration in which 67 were successful and security forces killed 110 militants during that period. In 2015, till September 30, there were just 86 attempts of infiltration in which 86 were successful and 89 militants were killed.

Nepali police kill Indian protester at border blockade | Reuters

KATHMANDU Nepali police shot and killed an Indian citizen at a border checkpoint on Monday as they tried to clear protesters whose blockade has strangled Nepal’s fuel supplies and badly damaged relations between the neighbours.

Nepal has faced an acute fuel crisis for more than a month since protesters in the lowland south, angered that a new constitution fails to reflect their interests, prevented supply trucks from entering from India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the killing of an Indian youth and spoke with Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Oli to seek details about the incident.

Many in Nepal see India’s hand in the protests although it denies any role.

Modi said he had assured the Nepalese leader that there was “no obstacle” from India to the supply of fuel and other essentials to Nepal.

With the landlocked Himalayan nation of 28 million recovering from its worst earthquake on record, the government has turned to China for extra fuel. Officials said some Chinese oil was due to arrive in Kathmandu late on Monday.

Hundreds of stick-wielding protesters battled with police near the border crossing, known as the “friendship bridge”, in Birgunj district, television pictures showed.

Raju Babu Shrestha, district police superintendent, said protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at a police post prompting them to “fire in self defence”.

“One protester, an Indian national, who was attacking the police post with the petrol bomb was killed in the firing,” Shrestha said, adding that the man was killed a few hundred metres from the border crossing.

More than 20 people including 15 police officers were injured in the clash, he said.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said India was deeply concerned about the violence in which “an innocent Indian” was killed. He said Indian fuel-truck drivers were advised not to put themselves in danger.

Protests over a new constitution turned violent in August and more than 40 people have been killed as southern plains dwellers objected to seeing their lands divided and included in several federal states dominated by mountain communities.

The constitution was nonetheless adopted on Sept. 20, paving the way for the formation of a government headed by Prime Minister K.P. Oli, who has failed to calm passions that have paralysed economic and political life.

Earlier on Monday, police cleared protesters staging a sit-in on the bridge but a protest leader said they had re-occupied it and five people had been hurt.

The protesters had gone into Birgunj town where they were burning tyres. A protest leader, Purushottam Jha, from a political party that represents minority Madhesis, said police had used teargas in the town and fired into the air.

Police said 219 empty trucks had been cleared to return to India but that none had entered from India.

(Reporting by Ross Adkin and Gopal Sharma; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Nick Macfie and Robert Birsel)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

PM Narendra Modi attempts to allay fears of Nepal, asks for credible solution to issues

Thapa, who holds the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, briefed Modi about developments in Nepal which has been witnessing a turmoil since the country adopted a new Constitution nearly a month back.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday attempted to allay fears within the new Nepali government, by calling a united, inclusive, stable and prosperous Nepal. He told visiting Nepali Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa that India was committed to strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of his country.Thapa, who holds the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, briefed Modi about developments in Nepal which has been witnessing a turmoil since the country adopted a new Constitution nearly a month back. “Prime Minister reiterated that India’s only desire is to see a united, inclusive, stable and prosperous Nepal, and that India is committed to strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of Nepal,” a PMO statement said.Modi also congratulated Thapa on assuming charge as the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal. Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay, India’s Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae, Indian Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and other officials were also present on the occasion.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The relations between the two countries have strained since Indian-origin people living in southern parts of Nepal, Terai have protested violently against the new Constitution. The agitation has affected supplies of essential commodities to Kathmandu. Earlier during his meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Thapa had expressed concern over the obstruction in the supplies from the Indian side especially petroleum oil lubricant.India’s position is that obstructions to the movement of men and material was on the Nepalese side by the disaffected Nepalese population. Swaraj told the visiting minister that India was looking forward to steps being taken by Nepalese government to “credibly” address the challenges faced by the country in the Terai region at the earliest. Thapa had flown to New Delhi on Saturday to hold talks over disruption of essential supplies to Nepal.The adoption of Constitution in Nepal by overlooking interests of Indian origin Madheshis is seen as single most diplomatic failure of Prime Minister Modi, who visited the Himalyan nation twice over past one-and-half year.The relations came to a boil when the Constituent Assembly of Nepal passed the new Constitution defining the Hindu-majority nation as a secular republic and divided it into seven federal provinces. The division is being opposed by people living in the Terai, especially the Madhesis and Tharus. They believe the new boundaries will lead to their marginalisation in Nepal.The Madhesis are mostly Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and people of similar clans residing in Nepal’s central Terai. They are both originally from Nepal and migrants from adjoining Indian states like UP and Bihar. They have close social and business links with people in India. Apart from the Madhesis, the Tharus in the western plains and the Janjatis in eastern Nepal are also against the new Constitution. Several people have died in violent protests across Nepal against the new Constitution. India fears this may lead to large scale exodus of Madhesis and their migration to UP and Bihar.

Madhesis in Nepal seek India’s support

The ongoing agitation by the Madhesis has further intensified with the members of the community squatting on the roads blocking movement of vehicles on the border.

Madhesis

The Madhesi community, which has been agitating against the newly-adopted Constitution of Nepal, has sought “moral” support from India to “force” the Himalayan nation to accept its demands. “We want India to extend moral support to us… India’s support is crucial for us… It will force Nepal to effect necessary changes in the Constitution and accommodate our concerns as well,” says Rajendra Mahato, national president of Sadbhawana Party of Nepal. The ongoing agitation by the Madhesis has further intensified with the members of the community squatting on the roads blocking movement of vehicles on the border. Senior Madhesi leaders from Rupandehi district in Nepal have accused Maoist leader Prachand of misleading the people and throwing the country into chaos and anarchy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “We want share in the Constitution in proportion to our numerical strength,” Mahendra Yadav, president of the district Madhesi Front in Rupandehi, had told the agitators last week. “We will never accept a Constitution which does not take our interest into account,” he said. Other Madhesi leaders, who also addressed the agitators, made it clear that their protest would continue till their demands are met. The Madhesis are upset that the Constitution divides the country into seven states with some borders slicing through their ancestral plains. The Madhesis, along with several other small ethnic group, also want the states to be larger and be given more autonomy over local matters. Agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front formed a human chain along the highway in 22 districts in the plains from Mechi to Mahakali, Nepal as part of its protest.

Madhesis to continue Nepal-India border blockade until demands met

Shukla told the negotiators of the three parties that previously the state had declared those who were killed during the protests as martyrs, but now the state was not following the precedent.

PTI
Nepal’s United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) on Wednesday told the negotiators of the Government that their blockade of entry points on Nepal-India border would continue until their demands were met.According to The Himalayan Times, UDMF negotiator Sarvendranath Shukla told the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the Unified CPN-Maoist that they should come with a roadmap when they sit for talks again tomorrow.Shukla told the negotiators of the three parties that previously the state had declared those who were killed during the protests as martyrs, but now the state was not following the precedent.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He added that the government had decided to withdraw its decision of declaring some areas in the Tarai districts as riot hit or prohibited zones, but in practice those decisions had not been implemented.The Madhesis felt cheated since the three parties did not abide by the eight-point agreement and hence, they wanted boundary issues resolved soon, Shukla said.On Tuesday, the meeting between Nepal’s three major parties and UDMF had ended inconclusively as the latter demanded concrete agenda on various issues for talks.

Former Nepal PM Baburam Bhattarai quits party amid differences over new Constitution

Bhattarai, who spent his years as a student at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and is said to have close links with India, has been sympathetic to the agitation launched by Madhesi parties demanding more rights and representation to the people residing in the southern plains of Nepal.
File Photo
Image courtesy: en.wikipedia.org
Baburam Bhattarai, Nepal’s former prime minister and top Maoist leader sympathetic to Madhesis, on Saturday resigned as lawmaker and also quit the party to form his own political “force” amid differences with the major Nepalese political parties over the new Constitution.Bhattarai, a veteran leader of the Unified CPN-Maoist, was the senior-most leader after party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as ‘Prachanda’.Bhattarai, who spent his years as a student at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and is said to have close links with India, has been sympathetic to the agitation launched by Madhesi parties demanding more rights and representation to the people residing in the southern plains of Nepal. He has consistently attacked lawmakers, including members of his own party, for not taking minorities’ concerns into account during the drafting of the new Constitution — Nepal’s first by elected representatives.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 61-year-old leader has indicated that he would form a new political “force” within a couple of months.”Effective from today’s date I have resigned from all obligations, responsibilities at all levels as well as general membership of the UCPN Maoists,” Bhattarai told reporters.”I will now do what I can as a citizen of this country…as long as I am alive I will work for the country and the people,” he said. He also appeared to distance himself from the Maoist ideology and said Maoism has become irrelevant and obsolete in today’s world. He has indicated that his new party would be democratic in nature.Bhattarai’s decision has given a big jolt to the UCPN-M as he leads a strong faction within the party, say insiders. The UCPN-M has 124 seats in the 601-member Parliament. Party sources say nearly half of the Maoist lawmakers are likely to toe Bhattarai’s line.During a press conference, Bhattarai said he would visit cities in the troubled Terai region, some of which are close to the Nepal-Indian border, in a few days to understand the situation there.Bhattarai will visit Biratnagar, Janakpur, Nawalparasi and Nepalgunj in southern Nepal. But he would first visit Janakpur on Tuesday, his close aides said.The Terai region (plains) has been on the boil since the new Constitution was debated. The Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of the plains, are up against the new charter, alleging that it doesn’t protect their rights and interests.The ethnic Tharu community say the model of splitting Nepal into seven provinces leave them under-represented in the country’s Parliament. More than 40 people have died in the ensuing protests over the new Constitution.Bhattarai, who led the second Maoist government between 2011 and 2013, was one of the key figures behind Nepal’s civil war that killed nearly 17,000 people. He was the vice chair of the UCP-M that fought a decade long war to topple the monarchy in Nepal.

India, Nepal seek way out as blockade along border adds to troubles

Nepalese people and Madhesi party leaders block a bridge in Birgunj, a town on the border with India, around 300 kilometers (200 miles) east of Kathmandu on Friday

As the models clad in designer Khadi dresses walked past the ramp in plush Soaltee Hotel of Kathmandu on Thursday night, chief guest of the event, Indian Ambassador in Nepal Ranjit Rae kept glued to his phone, intermittently pacing in and out of the venue.The palpable tension was not noticed by most of the audience but for a few from Nepal’s elite political and bureaucratic circles that included Nepali Congress leader Shashanka Koirala.It is about the news of blockade along the India-Nepal border. We have heard that the Indian border guarding force, SSB, in not allowing trucks carrying essential supplies including petrol to ply through check posts because of security concerns inside Nepal. Besides it, the continued misgivings between the two countries that refuse to die down, an official confided.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The tension on the two counts led top leaders of the three major Nepali parties – CPN (UML), Maoists and Nepali Congress – to go in a huddle to thrash out possible solution to the stalemate.Hectic parleys continued on Friday too with Indian ambassador being called in by Nepal’s foreign minister Khaga Raj Adhikari to discuss the current situation at border checkpoints.At the meeting, Rae said India has no intention to block trade ties with Nepal. He also clarified that the obstruction to the Nepal-bound cargo was due the unrest, protests and demonstrations on the Nepali side.The envoy also held separate meetings with top leaders of major political parties of Nepal, including K P Sharma Oli, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the country’s former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.However, Nepalese leaders and keen observers refute Indian claims and observation.”Small violence by a miniscule group of people cannot be the reason to block supplies at main transit point of Raxual-Birganj when we have assured their full protection. Moreover, why trucks were not allowed to ply via Sanauli that is not affected by agitation at all? India should not force its own prescribed pill in our throat. This can create problems in future,” said a senior leader of Nepal Congress.The Nepalese leadership, sources said, is thinking to send members from three major parities as team of envoys to India to explain their position.”We want to explain India that what it wants is not possible as the sentiment is not shared by a big population in the Terai region. There are a few splinter groups that are trying to create problem but their voice is not of Madhesis in general,” said a senior leader of Nepal Congress.Nepal is expected to send the team in a day or two to meet, if possible, Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain Nepal’s position that any change in the constitution is not possible right away and Indian genuine Indian concerns can always be addressed through amendments later.Many independent observers in Nepal believe that the tough Indian stand has something to do with Bihar elections where the incumbent BJP government in the Centre has a lot at stake and relaxing its position could mean negative votes in Bihar constituencies bordering Nepal.This was reflected also by Rae who hoped that the tension and violence in the southern plains of Nepal would be resolved ahead of the Bihar assembly polls in India beginning next month.Madhesis spill over on either side of Nepal and Bihar border and are spread over in large numbers in areas like Bettiah, Motihari, Madhubani, Darbhanga and Kishanganj. Any important event or happening on either side affects them directly as a community as they have strong social and economic connections on either side.

With Nepal crisis nearing boiling point, NSA Doval skips first leg of PM Modi’s US visit

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will reportedly be flying out on Friday to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the US, after delaying his departure on account of the crisis in Nepal. He stayed on in New Delhi as India gets deeper entrenched in the political strife across the porous border.

FIle photo of Ajit Doval. AFP

FIle photo of Ajit Doval. AFP

The NSA was called in for consultations with India’s Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae, after agitations in the Terai region of Nepal against the newly-promulgated Constitution.

Government officials told The Economic Times that the NSA, who is likely to travel to the US on Friday, has stayed back to handle what is emerging as the ‘biggest foreign policy challenge’ in recent times for the government.

Doval missed Modi’s bilateral meetings with such leaders as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina — with whom the PM held his third meeting in recent months  — but is expected to arrive in the US in time for Modi’s meeting with President Barack Obama.

In June, Doval had stayed on in India when Modi made a state visit to Bangladesh, in order to plan the operation against militants on the India-Myanmar border.

The report in The Economic Times adds that the crisis in Nepal is showing no ‘signs of abating, even as India has been urging its neighbour to make the new Constitution inclusive to meet the demands Madhesis and others’.

And within this context, a lot depends on what Doval was able to accomplish in the past two days.

Not asked Nepal to carry out amendments in Constitution: India

New Delhi: India on Wednesday reiterated that issues on which there are differences should be resolved through dialogue in Nepal but denied that it has asked Kathmandu to carry out amendments to ensure it was acceptable by Indian-origin community.

“India has not handed over any list of specific Constitutional amendments or changes to the Government of Nepal.

Protests in Nepal. AP

Protests in Nepal. APa

“Without being prescriptive on specific clauses, and as already stated earlier, we continue to urge that issues on which there are differences should be resolved through dialogue in an atmosphere free from violence, and institutionalised in a manner that would enable broad-based ownership and acceptance,” the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said.

The remarks came in the backdrop of reports that India has conveyed to Nepal’s leadership to carry out “seven amendments” to its newly promulgated Constitution to ensure it is acceptable to the Madhesis.

Madhesis are Indian-origin people living on the foothills of Nepal’s Terai region.

India has been expressing its concerns over the continued violence in parts of Nepal bordering it.

“We are deeply concerned over the incidents of violence resulting in death and injury in regions of Nepal bordering India following the promulgation of Constitution…

“We had repeatedly cautioned the political leadership of Nepal to take urgent steps to defuse the tension in these regions. This, if done in a timely manner, could have avoided these serious developments,” and hoped that initiatives will be taken by Nepal’s leadership to effectively and credibly address the causes underlying the present state of confrontation,” MEA had said in a statement.

PTI

Ajit Doval wades into the frame as India calls its Nepal Envoy for consultations

The high-profile National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has been brought into the frame by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the recently triggered Nepal crisis as India’s worst fears have finally come true in the landlocked Himalayan country forcing India to call its ambassador in Nepal Ranjit Rae to New Delhi for consultations.

China, it transpires, has been behind India’s latest diplomatic embarrassment as Nepali politicians like Khagada Prasad Sharma Oli, better known as KP Oli, have cleverly played the familiar China card against India in the recent promulgation of Nepal’s new constitution.

Protests in Nepal. APProtests in Nepal. AP

Protests in Nepal. AP

With the help of Nepalese leaders like Oli and his comrades China has successfully managed to score a crucial brownie point over India in the constitution episode.

China has made deep forays into the Nepalese political establishment that explains Kathmandu cocking a snook at New Delhi on the sensitive issue of promulgation of Nepal’s secular and democratic constitution.

Oli, the top leader of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified-Marxist – Leninist) , has been in the forefront of Nepalese left-leaning politicians in handing a most severe diplomatic embarrassment to India by promulgating Nepal’s new constitution without addressing Indian concerns.

The government of India has got classified reports from Kathmandu suggesting that Oli has furthered China’s agenda in promulgation of Nepalese constitution which largely keeps the Madhesis under-represented in Nepal’s polity. Since Nepal’s Madhes region borders India the Madhesis are looked upon by China as Indian stooges and therefore their political and demographic rights have been ignored in the Nepalese constitution.

The Madhesis have been demanding their representation in Nepal’s political and parliamentary architecture as per their demographic strength and not on the basis of the area they are populated in. The Madhesis account for over 50 percent of Nepal’s population though area-wise they account for only 20 percent of the total Nepalese landmass.

China looks upon the Madhesis as India’s pocket borough and therefore a threat to its influence in Nepal.

This explains India’s strong reaction on 21 September on Nepal’s political development, the third in as many days. Here is the complete text of the Ministry of External Affairs on Nepal with pithy analysis in parenthesis after each paragraph.

“We are deeply concerned over the incidents of violence resulting in death and injury in regions of Nepal bordering India following the promulgation of Constitution yesterday. Our freight companies and transporters have also voiced complaints about the difficulties they are facing in movement within Nepal and their security concerns, due to the prevailing unrest.”

(Decoder: India is unhappy and in many ways it conveys not just anger but also the state of things which have gone beyond India’s control)

“We had repeatedly cautioned the political leadership of Nepal to take urgent steps to defuse the tension in these regions. This, if done in a timely manner, could have avoided these serious developments.”

(Decoder: Mark the verb “had”. It denotes that more than India it is Nepal’s loss.)

“We have consistently argued that all sections of Nepal must reach a consensus on the political challenges confronting them. The issues facing Nepal are political in nature and cannot be resolved through force. We still hope that initiatives will be taken by Nepal’s leadership to effectively and credibly address the causes underlying the present state of confrontation.”

(Decoder: Key words here are “all sections” and “still hope”, the former implying the Madhesis and the latter showing that all is not lost and India will continue to deal with the challenges in a hands-on fashion.)

The bottom line is this. Now that Oli’s antics have put a spanner in the works of India on the issue of Nepal’s new constitution, the Indian response has gone beyond the MEA’s usual conventional bounds and Oli’s shenanigans are now under a scanner by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

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