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India welcomes Nepal’s steps to resolve political turmoil

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New Delhi/Kathmandu: India on Monday welcomed the steps taken by the Nepal’s government to resolve the four-month-old political impasse following the adoption of a new constitution by the Himalayan nation in September.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was informed by Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa on Monday that the Nepalese cabinet has taken some important decisions to address and resolve demands regarding the constitution raised by agitating Madhes-based parties, the ministry said in a statement.

These decisions include amendments to the Constitution on participation in the state organs on the basis of proportionate inclusiveness and delineation of electoral constituencies on the basis of population.

“The demarcation of provinces is also to be addressed through an appropriate arrangement in the constitution on the basis of political consensus. Similarly, other demands, including citizenship, are to be resolved through negotiations and consensus.” the statement stated.

According to the statement, India welcomed these developments as positive steps that help create the basis for a resolution of the current impasse in Nepal.

“As a neighbor and well-wisher, India was deeply concerned at the unrest stemming from internal differences in Nepal on the constitution. We urge all Nepali political forces to now demonstrate the necessary maturity and flexibility to find a satisfactory solution to the Constitutional issues through constructive dialogue in an agreed time frame,” it stated.

We are confident that a return to normalcy in Nepal would create a more secure and predictable climate for unimpeded commerce between our two countries.

At least 55 people have lost their lives in the four months of violent protests after the adoption of the new constitution with agitating Madhesi political parties and ethnic groups of the Nepal Terai demanding amendments in the statute that they deem discriminatory and ignoring their rights.

A new bill introduced in the Nepalese parliament on December 15, that aims to amend the constitution, ensures the constitutional guarantee of inclusive proportional representation of various ethnic minorities in various state entities apart from the Nepal Army and redrawing the electoral constituencies based on population.

However, the Madhesi parties opposed the move, saying they had not been consulted before tabling the bill.

Expressing their disagreement with the constitution amendment proposal, the disgruntled regional parties have returned to their constituencies to intensify protests.

Although they have not formally ended dialogue with the government, relations between the two sides have become bitter once again.

On Sunday evening, the Nepal government had decided to form a high-level political mechanism to redraw the borders of the federal provinces outlined by the newly adopted constitution as part of its bid to end the prolonged Madhes crisis.

An emergency meeting of the Cabinet decided to form the mechanism with a mandate to submit reports with acceptable recommendations for all sides within three months of its formation.

Before communicating the decision to the Indian side, Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa communicated the cabinet decision to the agitating Madhes-based parties on Monday at his office, assuring the Nepal government is fully committed to its decision.

Immediately after the Indian external affairs ministry’ statement welcoming the Nepal cabinet’s decision, Thapa tweeted:

The southern plains comprise over 50 percent of the population of Nepal and if this bill is passed, the plains will have majority representation in parliament after the next general election.

Due to the ongoing agitation, thousands of Nepal-bound cargo vehicles have not been able to enter Nepal from India since the last four months. As a result, Nepal is facing a serious shortage of essential supplies like food, medicines, fuel and other items. (IANS)(Picture Courtesy:kathmandupost.ekantipur.com)

 

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India donates ambulances and buses to Nepal on Republic Day

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Kathmandu: On its 67th Republic day, India has donated 40 ambulances and eight buses to various hospitals, non-profit charitable organisations and educational institutions in Nepal to strengthen the education and health services in the Himalayan nation.

Among them, 33 ambulances and six buses were distributed at a function at the Indian embassy here while seven other ambulances and two buses were gifted by the Consulate General of India, Birgunj, to different organisations under its consular jurisdiction.

Since 1994, the Government of India has gifted 542 ambulances to various organisations across 73 districts in Nepal.

The Indian Embassy also released a statement regarding this stEarlier during the day,

This has helped in bringing healthcare services to the doorstep of thousands of people who do not have access to healthcare services,

India has so far gifted 106 buses to various educational and welfare institutions across 25 districts in Nepal, making access to education easier for thousands of students.

Earlier during the day, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae hoisted the national flag at a function in the embassy premises and read out the message of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee that stressed, among other things, on India’s support for peace, stability and development in its neighbourhood.

The event was marked by unveiling of the ‘Bhu Puu (ex-army men) 2015 Magazine’, published by the Defence Wing of the Embassy to publicise all welfare initiatives of the Indian government for ex-servicemen domiciled in Nepal.

The widows and dependents of ex-servicemen and disabled ex-servicemen were handed over cheques and blankets by the ambassador. In addition, books were donated to 52 libraries, and educational and training institutions located in different regions of Nepal, including the remote districts.

Ambassador Rae also hosted a reception, attended by senior leaders, public personalities and representatives of various sections of the Nepalese society, as well as prominent Indian citizens here.

(Inputs from IANS)

(Picture Courtesy: www.newsx.com)

 

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India wants Nepal to be peaceful and stable: Sushma Swaraj

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New Delhi: The present state of confrontation in Nepal needs to be addressed by the political parties and the people of Nepal, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday, adding that “India’s interest is in only peaceful, united, and stable Nepal“.

“The causes underlying the present state of confrontation in Nepal need to be addressed credibly and effectively by the political parties and people of Nepal themselves,” Swaraj said in a statement in the Rajya Sabha on a calling attention motion by the Janata Dal (United) leader Pawan Kumar Verma.

India’s only interest is in a peaceful, united, and stable Nepal and our approach is completely consistent with these objectives,

The minister also clarified that there was no blockade of Nepal by India.

Obstructions are by the Nepalese population on the Nepalese side in which government of India can not interfere. There is no blockade by India of supplies going to Nepal,

There were incidents of violence resulting in death and injury in regions of Nepal bordering India following the promulgation of the constitution. Our freight companies and transporters also voiced complaints about difficulties of movement and security within Nepal,” she pointed out.

Swaraj also urged the house to consider the merits of a visit to Nepal by an all-party delegation.

“The government would be guided by the sentiments of the house,” she said.

(Inputs from IANS)

(Picture Courtesy:-www.newsx.com)

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India has not blocked supplies to Nepal: Union government

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Picture Courtesy:-english.tahlkanews.com

New Delhi: India has not blocked transport of essential supplies to Nepal where the movement of goods from India has been stopped ever since protests broke out after a new constitution was adopted by Nepal government, Indian government recapitulated on Thursday.

“There has been no blockade by India whatsoever,” Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs, said in his weekly media briefing.

 

In fact, I think this question should really be put to the government of Nepal and not to the government of India,

 

Swarup’s response came after being pointed out that Nepal’s prime minister has again said that India should not block movement of cargo to the Himalayan nation.

He said the issues facing Nepal were political in nature and internal to Nepal.

“The Nepalese leadership has to resolve them through dialogue with the agitating parties,” the spokesperson said.

 

All we can add is if the political challenges facing Nepal are addressed, we can hope it would assuage the concerns the protesters have leading to a return to peace and normalcy in the affected areas of the Terai, including the border crossings being currently occupied by the Nepalese protesters and thereby improve the supply situation in the country.

 

He said the major crossing of Raxaul-Birgunj which handles two-thirds of the trade between India and Nepal continued to remain closed on the Nepal side of the border.

Out of the 10 border crossings capable of handling commercial cargo, seven, including the major ones of Sonauli and Panitanki, have been operational,

According to him, between 400 and 800 cargo trucks have been passing daily over the last four days through the India-Nepal border.

 

Petrol, oil, lubricants – POL supplies – continue to move to the extent possible,

 

As of Wednesday evening, nearly 6,000 trucks were waiting to cross into Nepal at various border crossings, including 4,700 in Raxaul alone, he added.

Referring to reports of a shortage of medicines in the Himalayan nation, Swarup said that India has already conveyed to the Nepal government that, like the re-routing of the POL trucks, the Indian  government is also for re-routing of vehicles carrying medicines.

 

we are ready to facilitate re-routing of vehicles carrying medicines.

 

“We are also ready to facilitate airlift. Nepalese importers of medicines are also advised to use those border crossings where there are no protests and disruptions in supplies,” he said.

 

(Inputs from IANS)