Valley

India blames protests for freight bottleneck

- Devendra Bhattarai, NEW DELHI
Delhi says the need of the hour is for Nepal to set its house in order and reach out to its people in the spirit of reconciliation

Oct 9, 2015-India has reiterated its stance that it has not imposed any blockade on Nepal—official or unofficial.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup on Thursday said Indian freight forwarders were unable to move trucks across to Nepal due to the obstruction caused by the protesting political parties on Nepal’s side. He added India had alerted Nepal to address the state of insecurity along Nepal’s border with India to normalise the supply.

“The need of the hour is for Nepal to set its house in order and reach out to its people in the spirit of reconciliation so that border obstruction eases at the earliest,” Swarup said during a media briefing.

“Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Nepal twice—in August and November last year. On both occasions, he called for a constitution that is broad-based. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar also talked about maximum consensus on constitution writing during their visits to Kathmandu this year,” said Swarup.“But one section of the population feels marginalised and excluded from the constitution making process.”

On growing anti-India sentiment in Nepal, he said Nepal was responsible for this. “We have never been prescriptive. We never said this is the kind of constitution you should have,” he said. “India’s position of resolving the current problem either by constitution amendment or by dialogue remains unchanged.”

Stating that India had not thought that the Madhes agitation would last long, Swarup said over 5,000 vehicles were waiting at six of the nine border points.

“Due to the obstruction on Nepal’s side, Indian Oil Corporation has not been able to transport petroleum products,” he said.

Swarup added strike in Birgunj had affected rail cargo traffic.

Published: 09-10-2015 09:08

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