‘Every bilateral issue shouldn’t be politicised’

Kathmandu, December 18

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae today urged Nepal not to turn small issues related to bilateral trade and economic development into political hot potato and stressed on the need to ‘remove politics from economics’.

“Sovereignty issue always comes to the fore whenever Nepal and India decide to do something together,” the Indian envoy said at an interaction organised by the Nepal Chamber of Commerce in Kathmandu today.

He provided examples of controversies surrounding the signing of Nepal-India Power Trade Agreement and 900-megawatt Upper Karnali Hydroelectric Project Development Agreement as evidences to drive home his point that ‘too much politics get associated with small technical issues’.

“Even bureaucrats get nervous and fear about getting into trouble whenever they deal with India,” the Indian ambassador told the interaction. “Nepal has to take these issues into account, as they are damaging for the economy.”

Rae said India’s cooperation was essential for Nepal, if development was Nepal’s true agenda and he added, “India is Nepal’s friend and well-wisher.”

His statements come at a time when Nepal’s trust in the Indian government appears to be eroding due to blockade on Nepal-India border points.

The trade disruption has choked supplies of petroleum products and other daily essentials, severely affecting everyone from households to industries.

During the interaction, participants asked the envoy what India was doing to ease supplies across Nepal-India border points.

In response, Rae said, “Nepal-India relationship is age-old and strong. When relationships are close, ups and downs take place. But out of every difficult situation, something good emerges.

And I hope this will help Nepal and India to place their relationship on a much stronger footing and build more mutual trust.”

He also said India wanted to see ‘stability’ in Nepal because ‘without stability, (the country) can’t develop’.

“Lately, there are differences among political parties on electoral constituencies, which have triggered protests in the Tarai. But this is a temporary phenomenon and won’t prolong,” the ambassador said, adding, “We have asked the government to resolve these issues through talks.

And if Indian support is needed on this front, we will come to the aid.”