India agrees to re-route trucks to Nepal to improve relations

Sushma Thapa meet

In an attempt to refresh ties between India and Nepal, India has agreed to re-route the trucks that have been stuck at the borders and let 300 trucks carrying fuel supplies enter Nepal through border crossing points apart from Raxaul. The trucks were stuck at the borders due to the ongoing crisis in Nepal where the Madhesi population in the Terai region has been protesting against the new constitution, which has created seven federal provinces in the country.

Extending an olive branch to India, Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa was in India from October 17 to 19 to resolve differences between the two countries. After the meeting between India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Mr Thapa, India said it has no issues in re-routing the 300 trucks provided Nepal’s border infrastructure at other crossing points was ready to handle such heavy cargo movement.

Nepal’s newly elected Prime Minister K. P. Oli has given priority to improving relations with India. The relations deteriorated over the past few months ever since Nepal’s new constitution promulgation led to instability within Nepal. India did not welcoming the way Nepal adopted the constitution when nearly half of its population was unhappy with the new constitution coming into force. Mr Oli is the first PM of Nepal under the new constitution.

The two sides focused on “easing of obstruction of cargo vehicles to Nepal”. Mr Thapa also briefed Ms Swaraj about the latest developments in Nepal apart from explaining the “constitutional amendments” that the ruling coalition is planning to bring in Nepal’s Parliament. Reassuring India, Mr Thapa spoke about the ‘constitutional amendments’ addressing some of the grievances and concerns of the Madhesis, who have been protesting in the Terai region over the last two months.

“The meeting remained positive. I am confident that initiatives would be taken to resolve our mutual problems,” Mr Thapa said. Referring to the ongoing Madhesi agitation, India emphasised that peace and reconciliation was necessary for the stability of Nepal.

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