Sushma Swaraj says India Nepal's "elder", not "big" brother

KATHMANDU: Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said India should mediate the talks between the government and protesting parties of Nepal.

Responding to concerns of the lawmakers at the Rajya Sabha today, Swaraj said her government is willing to mend ties with Nepal.

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Claiming that the Narendra Modi government took great initiatives to mend ties with Nepal after it took over, she said India was not the Big Brother of Nepal, but a caring Elder Brother.

She recalled that India was the first nation to offer humanitarian support to Nepal during the April-May earthquakes.

She said India was ready to airlift essential supplies including medicines to Nepal.

Meanwhile, she claimed that the new Constitution of Nepal did not incorporate rights granted to Madhesis in the Interim Constitution.

Explaining that the Indian government was engaged in Nepal's Constitution drafting process for a long, the leader accused the Constituent Assembly of endorsing the statute in a hurry, without any serious debate, while removing provisions of proportional inclusion.

India's concerns over violent protests in the Tarai region, bordering India, were obvious as they could leave adverse impacts on India, she said.

Maintaining that India respects independence of Nepal, Swaraj said it was just advising Nepal as a good friend to find a way out on the basis of consensus.

She said India's blockade on Nepal was not the first time now as the Indian National Congress' Rajiv Gandhi-led government in late 1980s had imposed a one-and-half-year blockade on Nepal.