Former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh
“With regards to Nepal, once again we have a situation where the government there is accusing the government of India of putting up a blockade, and that is very unfortunate. Nepal is our closest neighbor and we must make every effort to ensure that as a small neighbor we attend to their perceptions. Even when they are wrong, we have an obligation to create an environment in which the common people in Nepal feel that in India they have a great friend.
First of all, I feel that India should have acted much sooner than it did. The Constitution of Nepal was being approved on September 20, 2015, and the foreign secretary was sent to convey a hard message to the Nepali government only a couple or so days before that. I think this is not a very good way of tackling a very difficult problem. If India did feel there was a problem with the constitution, the government should have quietly told the Nepalis what they felt and talked to them and persuaded them.
Instead, the government woke up late, just a few days before the constitution was to be adopted. In fact, a majority of Madhesis also voted for the constitution, so the government of India should have been much more conscious of what was going on in Nepali society. We have always had leverage with Nepal and we have always utilized it for the good of India-Nepal relations.“
(Excerpts from India Today’s interview with former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The interview was appeared on Feb. 12, 2016.)