No intention to block trade with Nepal: Indian envoy

Kathmandu: Indian ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae on Friday assured the Nepali authorities that New Delhi had not imposed any constraints on trade with the neighboring country.

The assurance came at a time when hundreds of Nepal-bound freight-carrying trucks and fuel tankers lay halted at the Indian side of the border. It followed escalating concerns due to violent protests in Nepal in the wake of the promulgation of the new constitution. However, the Nepal government summoned the Indian envoy on Friday at the foreign ministry.

The Indian envoy made it clear during the meeting that his country has no intention to block trade with Nepal and mentioned that the disruption was due to protests and demonstrations on the Nepali side.

The envoy also held separate meetings with top leaders of major political parties of Nepal, including KP Oli, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the country’s former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Rae expressed the hope 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.

The Indian envoy welcomed the government’s move to depute Forest Minister Mahesh Acharya, a close confidante of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, for talks with the agitating Madhes-based parties.

The agitating Madhesi parties from the Terai region maintain that the Terai-based people and ethnic groups fail to find adequate representation in the country’s new constitution that was promulgated on September 20.

They have intensified protests at the border entry points to build pressure on the Nepal government to meet their demands for amending the constitution.

Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has cancelled his visit to New York to attend the UN General Assembly session. He was to fly to New York on September 23 with an 18-member delegation.

But as the situation in the Terai has become volatile, Koirala is set to hold parleys with the disgruntled parties over the constitution. Deputy Prime Minister Prakash Man Singh will now lead the Nepali delegation to UNGA.

(Anil Giri, IANS)



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