Prime Minister Oli urges India to lift economic blockade

KATHMANDU, Nov. 16 (Xinhua)– Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli on Sunday called on India to lift ‘unofficial blockade’ in Nepal as soon as possible.

In his televised address to the nation on Sunday evening, the premier, who assumed office as the head of the government on Oct. 11, explicitly mentioned that Nepali people have been undergoing through a hardest time due to blockade imposed by India.

“It is unthinkable that a sovereign nation faces such an inhumane and severe pain, misery and blockade in the 21st century for having a Constitution with progressive, pro-people and democratic contents through an elected Constituent Assembly with people’s overwhelming participation and democratic franchise,” Prime Minister Oli said.

The Nepali prime minister’s remark has come at a time when Nepali people have been reeling under acute shortage of fuel and basic commodities due to an Indian embargo after Nepal adopted democratic constitution on Sept. 20.

This is the first time Nepali prime minister categorically pointed out Indian economic blockade in the Himalayan nation though India has been denying any embargo against Nepal.

The Indian government has cited security reasons behind obstruction of fuel and basic commodities supply to Nepal due to ongoing agitation against new constitution by Nepal’s Madhesi parties at the India-Nepal border.

“Nepal is passing through a serious humanitarian crisis which should not happen even during the wars. The blockade imposed by our southern neighbor has underestimated the feeling of the Nepali and Indian people. Imposing a blockade to a landlocked nation is a breach of international treaties, norms and values,” the prime minister said.

While expressing gratitude to China for extending generous support to Nepal by offering 1,000 metric tons of petrol at the time of acute shortage of fuel, the prime minister said “We would like to increase and diversify trade with northern neighbor China and other countries so as to the country should not face such national crisis in future again.”

He said that Nepal wants to have relations with its neighbors on the basis of the principles of Panchsheel.

Stating that the government is making all efforts to address genuine concerns of agitating Madhesi parties, Prime Minister Oli said remarked that the government is ready to review the demarcation of federal sate borders which has been a key demand of the agitating parties.

“The newly promulgated constitution is not discriminatory to any sections of people including the Madhesi. It has addressed the aspirations of all people. As the constitution is a dynamic document, it can be amended several times. I would like to urge Madhesi parties to end the ongoing agitation,” the prime minister added.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s talks between the agitating Madhesi parties and the government has failed to reach any conclusion, officials told Xinhua.

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