(KATHMANDU Post, Dec 7, 2015)– Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa urged Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take steps to resolve the bilateral issue in line with the spirit of recent discussion between two foreign ministers in New Delhi.
Thapa also urged India not to link internal issue and bilateral economic issue, adding that the trade obstruction is against good-neighbourly principle. He also sought to highlight the humanitarian cost of the blockade.
Registering a statement at Legislature-Parliament on Monday, DPM Thapa said the differences with the agitating parties have narrowed down and that the government has been making continuing efforts to resolve other outstanding issues. He addressed to the Parliament about diplomatic efforts made by government regarding elimination of transit obstruction and trade embargo by India.
He added that the government has been putting utmost effort to address the demands of agitating Madhes-centric parties through talks and negotiations.
DPM Thapa also said that the government attention has been drawn by the statement given by India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at India’s Upper House (Rajya Sabha) on December 3 regarding Nepal-India relations and Nepal’s current situation. Without categorically refuting some aspects of Swaraj’s statement, Thapa sought to correct some of the perceived inaccuracies in the statement given by Swaraj.
He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion on finding a maximum consensus on the constitution as a friendly advice while noting that constitution drafting was internal issue.
“I have been hopeful since my India visit from Nov 30 to Dec 2 where I met Indian Prime Minister, External Affairs Minister, and national security advisor, among other high-profile personnel. My India visits have been helpful on resolving souring misunderstanding between Nepal and India and I am hopeful that there will be early improvement to the current situation,” DPM Thapa said.
Hailing centuries-old Nepal-India ties, DPM Thapa also expressed gratitude towards India’s continuous assistance towards socio-economic development of Nepal. Recalling Indian PM Narendra Modi’s two time visit to Nepal last year and his address to Nepal’s Parliament, DPM Thapa mentioned India’s immediate assistance to Nepal during the earthquake triggered crisis in April was praiseworthy.
He said Nepal had expected warm welcome from its friendliest neighbour and world’s biggest democracy on promulgating the new constitution. But India’s statement ‘merely noting’ the constitution and subsequent obstruction of transit has shocked us and that trend of transit obstruction continues, Thapa said.
Thapa also said that the constitution was welcomed by friendly nations including China, Japan and UN Secretary General. And recently during the Universal Periodic Review session on Human Rights held in Geneva, a majority of 79 member-states who had taken part praised Nepal for the constitution.