India concerned over anti-India sentiments in Nepal

New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS) India on Thursday expressed concern over increasing “anti-India sentiments” in Nepal and called upon Kathmandu to “put its house in order” over protests by a section of the Himalayan nation’s population over the new constitution.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters here that there was no official or unofficial blockade by India and all border points remain open.

He said obstructions at entry points was only due to demonstrations on the Nepali territory.

“We do recognise a growth in anti-India sentiments in Nepal. It is something we are concerned about. But who is responsible? Who stoked these anti-India sentiments and why have these peaked? (It is) because of what is happening on the Nepali side of the border,” he said.

Swarup said the blame for the anti-India sentiments lies with the Nepali leadership.

“We hope they will do something about the issue so that the traditionally friendly relations between Nepal and India continue as before,” he said.

He said the Constitution-making process was seen as unfair by certain sections of the Nepali population and hence they protested.

Due to such protests, some goods from India were not able to get through the border, he added.

“The need of the hour is for Nepal to put its house in order so that border obstruction is eased,” he said.

The spokesman said India wanted peace and stability in Nepal and was not responsible for the present situation in the Himalayan country.

“The problem in Nepal is of their own creation and that is why we have been urging them to reach out to their people, put their house in order and enter into some kind of dialogue with the protesters,” he said.

Swarup said that since India had open borders with Nepal, any violence would have a spillover effect on the Indian side as well.

He said India had never been prescriptive about the Constitution-making process in Nepal.

“They have to resolve their problems in consultation with their own people,” he said.

Swarup said there were nine crossing points between India and Nepal that handle cargo trucks and over 5,000 trucks were waiting at six points, including at Raxaul in Bihar.

Asked about the statements by Nepali leaders that they will provide security to transport coming from India, he cited instances of Indian truckers facing violence and said they had apprehensions over their safety and security.

He also noted that trucks were not moving at speeds wanted by India.

He said around 250-300 trucks have been going to Nepal every day since October 6.

Asked about statements about Nepal leaders that they will look at China as an option to get supplies, he said that while the Himalayan country can make its choices, no country can substitute “roti beti ka rishta” (fraternal ties) between the two countries.

Madhesi parties from the Terai region of Nepal have been protesting at the border entry points with India to build pressure on the Nepali government to meet their demand for changes in the new constitution.

They maintain that the Terai-based people and ethnic groups have failed to find adequate representation in the new constitution that was promulgated on September 20.

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