Kathmandu, November 5
Official Spokesperson of Indian Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup today said the current standoff between Nepal and India had no international dimension.
He said this in response to a journalist’s query on whether the bilateral standoff now got an international dimension. He was addressing a weekly press conference in Delhi today.
According to the transcripts of the press conference posted on the MEA website, when a reporter asked Swarup “Nepal has raised the issue of blockade at the UN in Geneva. And India too has spoken about the human rights violations there.
Has the bilateral standoff now got an international dimension?” Swarup responded “No, there is no international dimension. What India said at the UPR is a part of an internationally agreed process, as part of Nepal’s membership of the UN, as part of our commitment at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
And various countries come as part of the UPRs and other countries make their suggestions and recommendations. So, our recommendations to Nepal were as part of that particular process.”
As far as the issue of blockade is concerned, Swarup said, let me once again categorically state that there is no blockade by India, the number of commercial cargo vehicles are moving daily to Nepal, between 400 to 600.
Swarup said on the 30th of October, 748 vehicles moved; on the 31st of October, 627; on the 1st of November, 473; on the 2nd of November, 308; and on the 3rd of November, 271.
He further said that as of yesterday afternoon, the number of vehicles awaiting at six out of the ten trading points capable of handling commercial cargo was 6,906. Out of these, 4,800 were at Raxaul alone and 1500 were at Sunauli.
“So as you can see, we are still making every effort to send as much supplies as is possible to send to Nepal. But the problem is that the main trading point which handles 70 to 80 per cent of commercial traffic between India and Nepal, Raxaul-Birgunj, continues to remain blocked,” he added. .
In response to another question, the MEA Spokesperson said the problem in Nepal was a political problem and it had to have a political solution.
“That is what we have been urging Nepal consistently from day one, and that is what we will continue to urge Nepal that there is a particular problem in Nepal caused by disaffection among a section of the Nepali population; the sooner the Nepali leadership reaches out to that particular section and reaches some kind of an accommodation, the sooner our supplies can resume which have been caused entirely by the blockade existing on the Nepalese side of the border,” he was quick to add.
On the question of the death of an Indian national in police firing, the MEA spokesperson said on that particular incident, the factual position was that Indian Embassy in Nepal had sought investigation report from the Government of Nepal.
When a reporter asked how he viewed the Nepal Foreign Minister in the UNHRC trying to implicate India in the blockade, his statement tantamounts to that, MEA spokesperson said “If you see para 5 of our statement (at Geneva) , we responded to that.
In that we said obstruction referred to in the Hon Minister’s statement is on the Nepalese side caused by Nepalese protestors. And that is the actual ground situation.
Raxaul-Birgunj and other crossings have been witnessing sit-ins and protests by the Madhesis on the Nepalese side and they are not allowing cargo traffic to go through.”
A version of this article appears in print on November 06, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.