Nepal Foreign Affairs (Kathmandu, Dec. 26)–Criticizing the Indian government’s current handling on Nepal affairs, Former State Minister for Foreign Affairs of India, Shashi Tharoor, has said that the anti-Indian sentiment is growing in Nepal due to a spectacular level of incompetence of the Narendra Modi-led government in the recent months.
During an interview with Indian Newspaper The Statesman, Tharoor, who is also a leader of the Indian opposition party Congress I, lambasted the Indian government’s mishandling on Nepal affairs particularly after Nepal promulgated the new constitution on Sept 20 this year.
“On Nepal, I genuinely believe the policy has not been well handled. There is a genuine reason for us to believe that preventive diplomacy was not attempted early enough, and that we did not take the necessary measures to convey our concerns to the Nepalese political parties or the Nepalese government on the evolution of their Constitution-making process,” Tharoor said during the interview adding “That when an attempt was made by sending the foreign secretary, it was too little too late and arguably it was at the wrong level. We should have sent some political envoys earlier, because a lot of Indian politicians have excellent relations with Nepalese leaders and have been used by previous governments.”
Tharoor also went on to say that Indian leaders like Dr Karan Singh, DP Tripathi and Sitaram Yechury should have been sent to Nepal like the erstwhile governments used to convey important messages to Nepali leaders in sensitive situations in the past. “They have political contacts across the border. Just sending the foreign secretary, I don’t believe, had the same effect,” Tharoor viewed.
The former state foreign minister also mentioned that the Indian government is responsible for a blockade on Nepal.
“Our people, our government insists we are not behind the blockade, and it is purely a Madhesi agitation. The perception in Nepal is that this Madhesi agitation would not be able to continue without some encouragement from India,” he said. He also argued that that such kind of perception is greatly damaging India.
“It is so because a country that is really our fraternal neighbour, for such a country to turn anti-India takes a spectacular level of incompetence on our part, which the government must be blamed for,” Tharoor maintained.
Tharoor’s remarks has come at a time when Nepal is reeling under acute shortage of fuel and essential goods due to an unofficial economic blockade by India after Nepal promulgated the new constitution.