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Sonia slams govt on Naga peace accord, BJP denies charge

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked the government on the Naga peace accord, but the BJP rejected the charge and accused the opposition party of “playing politics on a national issue”.

“We are really shocked that the prime minister (Narendra Modi) didn’t even think of taking into confidence the chief ministers of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, which are the directly affected states,” Sonia Gandhi told reporters in the parliament complex.

“It is the arrogance on part of this government. How can an accord be signed without consulting the chief ministers that are directly affected, even if the accord is being termed as historic,” she asked.

“I have no doubt that it may be historic, but what about consulting our chief ministers?” Sonia Gandhi said.

“Their arrogance is now even more clear. It is not just an insult to the chief ministers but to people of the states and the federal structure of the country,” the Congress president added.

Rahul Gandhi termed the government’s move to sign the pact with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) an “insult” to the people of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh as they were not even informed about it.

“It’s an insult to every single citizen in these three states and it’s an insult to the people of India the way this government works,” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party denied the Congress charge and accused the opposition party of playing “politics even on the issue of national security”.

“Gandhi’s charges are far from the truth as the Congress-ruled states were consulted, but they chose to boycott the meeting,” union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference here.

“How can the Congress chief question the accord when its party leaders, including Ninong Ering and Assam chief minister welcomed it soon after the announcement,” she wondered.

The minister said the Narendra Modi government believed in co-operative federalism and always consulted states on every issue, including land acquisition and Goods and Services Tax bills and even on the reconstitution of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog.

Sitharaman also showed to the media copies of tweets from Congress chief ministers.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi tweeted: “I appreciate peace in Nagaland and welcome settlement of Naga issues. But I will oppose tooth and nail any move that affects Assam’s interests. To allay apprehension of the people, the prime minister should make his stand clear that the Naga peace accord does not affect the interest of Assam…”

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki wrote on his Twitter account: “Welcomed the initiative of the Centre to bring a peaceful solution to the prolonged Naga political issue.”

However, Tuki deleted his tweet later.

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

Also Read: Water Crisis is Increasing in Cape Town, Red Alert For Africa 

He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)