India Upper House holds debate on Nepal crisis

KATHMANDU: The Rajya Sabha of India on Monday held a discussion on the current political crisis in Nepal and soured Indo-Nepal relationship.

Janata Dal (United) lawmaker Pawan Kumar Verma had registered a calling-attention motion at the House seeking the government's answer on what it was doing to mend ties with Nepal.

Earlier, on December 3, the House had begun a short discussion over the motion. It, however, was obstructed following lawmakers' demand that the issue should discussed in much detail.

Taking part in the discussion today, Indian National Congress leader Karan Singh criticised the Indian government for sending the Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar two days before the Constitution promulgation with an aim to make amendments in the draft.

Likewise, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav urged the Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to take immediate initiatives to solve the problems seen in Indo-Nepal relations. "We, all parties, want the problem to be resolved at the earliest," he said.


Speaking after him, lawmaker Ravi Prakash Verma said the Madhes protest in Nepal was for a genuine cause and India should urge the Nepali government and the protesting parties to solve the issue through talks.

Lawmaker Mohammud Nadimul Haque, however, spoke in favour of the ongoing Madhes protest and India's intervention in the crisis.

Vijila Sathyananth, another lawmaker from Tamil Nadu, however, criticised the Indian government for merely "noting" promulgation of the Constitution of Nepal. Mentioning minority ethnic groups of Sri Lanka, she accused the government of maintaining a double standard in treating its neighbours.

She, however, supported genuine demands of Madhesis.

Salim Ansari, a Bahujan Samaj Party lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh, urged the government to mediate the talks between agitating Madhesi parties and the Nepal government in a bid to resolve the crisis.

TK Rangarajan, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) lawmaker, said the Indian government should understand that Nepal is an independent nation and it cannot be controlled by any foreign force.

Nationalist Congress Party General Secretary Devi Prasad Tripathi said India has to understand that no constitution in the world is perfect.

Mentioning that the first President to declare the Constitution in Nepal was a Madhesi, he said Nepal has achieved some historical achievements and India should appreciate them.

He was of the view that India should let Nepal solve its problem as an independent nation.

D Raja, a Communist Party of India lawmaker, said India should help Nepal get rid of humanitarian crisis by supplying basic needs including fuel.

Describing historical political development of Nepal, Bharatiya Janata Party leader VP Singh Badnore supported the government proposal to send an all-party delegation to Nepal to mend ties with the neighbour.

Bhupinder Singh of Biju Janata Dal urged the government not to weaken ties with Nepal at any cost. India should respect sovereignty of Nepal, he added.

Renuka Chowdhury of Indian National Congress said the statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on September 20 after Nepal's Constitution was promulgated was "immature".

She also criticised the Indian government for sending Jaishankar as the special envoy at the 11th hour and for failing to respect an independent nation's Constitution.

Nominated lawmaker Mani Shankar Aiyar said India should not expect its advices to be followed by Nepal as orders. Presenting statistics of voting over the Constitution at the Constituent Assembly, he said the Constitution had an overwhelming support from lawmakers elected from the Tarai region.

If there are any shortcoming, Nepal will amend the Constitution, he added.

"This is bullying," he said referring to India's treatment to Nepal. "It is not India... but the Modi government is harming Nepal."