India wants Nepal to 'credibly' address challenges
New Delhi: India today told Nepal that it was looking forward to steps being taken by its government to "credibly" address the challenges faced by the country including in the Terai region at the earliest during a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.
In the first high-level engagement after the establishment of the new dispensation in Nepal, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held extensive talks with visiting Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa, who briefed her about the current political situation in his country and expressed hope of finding a solution to the present turmoil at an early date.
In this regard, he also expressed concern over the obstruction in the supplies from the Indian side especially petroleum oil lubricants (POL), to which Swaraj told him that the "reduced or closure was due to the obstructions on the Nepalese side by the disaffected section of the Nepalese population," official sources said.
They said 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 including in the Terai region at the earliest.
Thapa requested that efforts should be made to supply the goods from those crossing points which were not affected by the agitation, sources said, adding that Swaraj said it can be done only under the existing border infrastructure capacity constraints.
Swaraj also told Thapa that whenever the disruptions, or protests on the Nepalese side have slightly eased India has tried to send supplies across the border and five to six border crossing have been consistently in use but the worst affected entry point has been Rauxul and Birganj, which has been blocked by the agitators.
Indian truckers and other vendors have also expressed fears about their safety, she told Thapa, who is also the coordinator of a three-member team formed by the Nepal government to hold talks with Indian authorities to end blockade of key trade points by Indian-origin Madhesi people who are opposed to splitting the country into seven provinces.
During more than two-hour-long talks, Thapa, also the Foreign Minister, informed Swaraj about the reconciliation efforts being made by new Nepal government to settle outstanding differences through dialogue and ensuring broad-based ownership of the Constitution.
Thapa's remarks came in the backdrop of Nepalese Prime Minister K P Oli's assurance to address the concerns of Indian-origin Madheshi population about delimitation of constituencies and representation.
Swaraj also assured Thapa that India attaches highest priority to its relations with Nepal and was committed to a stable, peaceful and united Nepal, sources said.
Swaraj hoped that there will be success of the peace process and institutionalised democracy in a Constitutional and multi-party framework.
She assured that India continued to provide support as per the aspirations of people of Nepal and hoped that peace and reconciliation will help create a conducive environment to add further momentum to bilateral ties, sources added.
The External Affairs Minister said India was consistently supportive of Nepal's ongoing political transition and bilateral cooperation initiatives.