PM Narendra Modi attempts to allay fears of Nepal, asks for credible solution to issues

New Delhi(dna): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday attempted to allay fears within the new Nepali government, by calling a united, inclusive, stable and prosperous Nepal. He told visiting Nepali Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa that India was committed to strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of his country.

PM Narendra Modi attempts to allay fears of Nepal, asks for credible solution to issues

Thapa, who holds the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, briefed Modi about developments in Nepal which has been witnessing a turmoil since the country adopted a new Constitution nearly a month back. “Prime Minister reiterated that India’s only desire is to see a united, inclusive, stable and prosperous Nepal, and that India is committed to strengthening the traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of Nepal,” a PMO statement said.Modi also congratulated Thapa on assuming charge as the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal. Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay, India’s Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae, Indian Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and other officials were also present on the occasion.

The relations between the two countries have strained since Indian-origin people living in southern parts of Nepal, Terai have protested violently against the new Constitution. The agitation has affected supplies of essential commodities to Kathmandu. Earlier during his meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Thapa had expressed concern over the obstruction in the supplies from the Indian side especially petroleum oil lubricant.

India’s position is that obstructions to the movement of men and material was on the Nepalese side by the disaffected Nepalese population. 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 in the Terai region at the earliest. Thapa had flown to New Delhi on Saturday to hold talks over disruption of essential supplies to Nepal.

The adoption of Constitution in Nepal by overlooking interests of Indian origin Madheshis is seen as single most diplomatic failure of Prime Minister Modi, who visited the Himalyan nation twice over past one-and-half year.

The relations came to a boil when the Constituent Assembly of Nepal passed the new Constitution defining the Hindu-majority nation as a secular republic and divided it into seven federal provinces. The division is being opposed by people living in the Terai, especially the Madhesis and Tharus. They believe the new boundaries will lead to their marginalisation in Nepal.

The Madhesis are mostly Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and people of similar clans residing in Nepal’s central Terai. They are both originally from Nepal and migrants from adjoining Indian states like UP and Bihar. They have close social and business links with people in India. Apart from the Madhesis, the Tharus in the western plains and the Janjatis in eastern Nepal are also against the new Constitution. Several people have died in violent protests across Nepal against the new Constitution. India fears this may lead to large scale exodus of Madhesis and their migration to UP and Bihar.