No blockade on Nepal-India border, supplies to resume soon, says envoy Ranjit Rae

New Delhi: Expressing concern over the obstruction of essential supplies on the Nepal-India border, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae has clarified that India has not blocked supplies at the border, and added that if there was a blockade, then hundreds of trucks would not have lined up on the Indian side of the border.

“There are interruptions of supplies on the border because of ongoing protest by certain groups of Nepalese citizens. As soon as the protests are over, I am sure supplies will resume. We hope that with the dialogue process which is under way, there will be a resolution of these political issues that are agitating certain groups and communities in Nepal,” he said in an interview to Nepal TV.

He also said that protests at Terai region in Nepal have been going for three months now and despite of killings and violent protests in the first and a half month, there was no resolution for the issues which lead a change in the nature of the protests, and also said, “Protestors started picketing the major access routes into India and that is when this so called notion of blockade started coming in.”

“The problem is rising because of insecurities, like the Birgunj incident. We see the problem is political in nature and we hope very much that these political issues will be resolved and once the protesters change the forms of protest and stops picketing borders routes, I am sure supplies would come back to normal. As far as the Indian government is concerned we have made every effort to re-route supplies through other check posts and also provide petroleum through other depots but 70 percent of Nepal’s trade comes from Birgung and that is the place which is blocked” he added.

“Well I am not sure which supplies are coming in and which are not. There are 1600 trucks lined up in Sanoli, Nepal, these queues are there for several kilometers and trucks are coming one by one. As far as the petroleum is concerned foreign minister already made a request to re-route these trucks through other check post,” he said.

Expressing grief over the killing of an Indian citizen in police firing Rae said, “We have asked the Nepal police to fully investigate the matter. We reject the allegations that Indians are fuelling the protests that are going in Tarai. We feel that there is mass agitation and people in parts of Tarai are involved, this is a home grown agitation arising out of certain perceptions of those people and it is best that those perceptions are addressed through dialogue,” he added.

When asked about the bilateral relationship between India and Nepal, Rae said, “We are at a difficult stage of relationship but I am very confident that our relationship is very strong and robust. It is a relationship fundamentally between our peoples, so there are aberrations from time to time but I am confident that we emerge out of these every crises and difficulties. Both sides are committed to this relationship and we will do everything to set it back on the track.”

“Our perception is that the constitution being a foundational document. There were great expectations and aspirations from the people of Nepal. Some sections feel that they are not full stake holders in this process, has generated certain anxieties and protests. We are optimistic that these issues will be resolved and have to be resolved because that is the only solution to maintain peace and stability,” he said.

He further added that India is very close friend and neighbor of Nepal.

“Instabilities of Nepal will have a negative implication on us but we hope the dialogue process will progress and there will be a resolution of these complex issues and everything on border become normal.”

“I think there is a constant process of engagement in and there are many communication channels so we are constantly engaging with each other and I am also engaging all political actors, business communities and media to share, engage our views and resolve any issue that exists. We want Normal meeting, exchange institutional mechanisms in a multidimensional relationship should take place,” he told media here.

“We understand the great desire of Nepal people of their right to constitution and this is the desire which was articulated more than 6 decades ago so we understand how important it is and obviously it is a foundational document which should accommodate every section of the society. It is not an easy task but it can be achieved. I think if you have a constitution is a great achievement and I hope it would accommodate all those who feel left out,” he added.

He said that as long as the protests continue on Raxaul- Birgunj border, supplies would continue to remain interrupted.

“Every effort will be made to create environment in which Nepal- India relation would improve but we reject anti- India campaigns,” said Rae. (ANI)