Seeking to find a solution to the ongoing crisis in Nepal, the leaders of Nepal’s Indian-origin Madhesi community, whose protest against the country’s new Constitution has blocked supplies from India, met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on December 6 and conveyed their positions on contentious issues. During the meeting, Ms Swaraj called for a “speedy” political solution to the crisis and underlined that India supports an “inclusive Nepal”.
The meeting with Madhesi leaders come amid growing criticism of the Indian government in Nepal and mounting frustration among ordinary Nepali people, who have been suffering due to shortage of fuel and food. Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa had visited India on December 1 and met Mrs Swaraj. After the meeting, he had said that transport and supply management would be smoother as the obstacles seen at the Nepal-India border and “undeclared blockade” imposed by India would end soon. India has been accused by Nepal of imposing the blockade. India has firmly denied having any role in the blockade, saying truck drivers are concerned about their safety after violent protests against the new Constitution in which over 40 people have been killed.
Insisting that the problem in Nepal was political in nature, India has stated that it has to be resolved by the Nepalese leadership through dialogue.
The recent visit by Mr Thapa followed by the visit of the Madhesi leaders underlines renewed efforts by both sides to find a solution to the ongoing blockade at the border especially in the Raxaul-Birgunj region.
Different organisations representing Nepali people living in India protested against India’s unofficial blockade on Nepal in New Delhi on December 6. The rally is said to have been organised by the India-based Nepali organisations Akhil Bharat Nepal Ekata Samaj (ABNES), Prawasi Nepali Sangh and Bharat Nepal Ekata Manch. India has been under pressure to reset ties with Nepal and find a solution to the blockade in the border regions. Nepal wants Indian political parties and Parliament to assert themselves and make a course correction before the situation worsens.
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