India hasn’t imposed any blockade, claims Indian Ambassador to Nepal

If embargo were in place, trucks would not have been allowed on border: Rae

Kathmandu, September 30

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae today made it clear that India had not imposed any blockade on freight supplies to Nepal. He, however, accepted that the quantity of supplies has significantly reduced in the last one week.

“There is no embargo,” Ambassador Rae said in a press conference. “But yes, there are short supplies of essential goods, disturbances and sit-ins at border checkpoints and long queues of Nepali cargo trucks on the Indian side.”

According to him, if embargo were in place, these trucks wouldn’t have been allowed there. He claimed that at no checkpoint cargo vehicles were barred from entering Nepal.

He organised the press conference at the Embassy of India in Kathmandu to clarify New Delhi’s official position on recent political developments in Nepal in the wake of promulgation of the new constitution.

He held ongoing political protests in Nepal responsible for the short supply of essentials. Rae expressed confidence that the situation would improve shortly, as Nepal’s political parties had taken the initiative to resolve the crisis through dialogue. He said the improvement in situation would depend on the progress the political parties made in the talks.

He refuted media reports that New Delhi had not accepted Nepal’s constitution and reiterated that India didn’t suggest the so-called seven amendments in Nepal’s constitution. “We don’t have any position on the specifics of Nepal’s constitution,” Ambassador Rae said.

“Everyone should feel ownership of the constitution,” Rae told journalists at the conference, adding, “Instability in any part of Nepal, especially in the region that borders India, is a concern for India.”

Indian and Nepali bureaucrats and leaders are in continuous talks to ease supply of essential goods, he said.

He welcomed the formation of talks team by three major parties and hoped that it would lead to an early resolution of the crisis. He said India was in touch with all political parties, including agitating Madhesis, and encouraged them to sit for talks to find an amicable solution to the problems.

Rae was hopeful that Nepal-India ties will be back to the previous level of cordiality soon. Recalling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two visits to Nepal within a span of four months last year, Rae said Nepal was still on the priority list of the southern neighbour.

Claiming that Nepal-India ties were multi-layered and strong, he said ‘ups and downs’ were part of a close relationship. “Very soon, we will achieve the same height of our friendship,” he said.