Indo-Nepal Ties in Jeopardy Over Fuel Crisis

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Kathmandu: India’s friendly ties with the Himalayan nation seemed to be in turmoil as supply of petroleum and other essential products have been choked from the Indian side due to the unrest in Nepal.

Nepal on Sunday asked India not to “push it to the wall” by choking petroleum and other essential supplies which could compel it to turn to China despite logistical difficulties.

Asserting that India had assured Nepal leadership that the situation will be resolved “at the earliest”, Nepalese Ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay said, “They (India) should give a timeframe. Does it mean hours, weeks or months?.”

Upadhyay said Nepal has also conveyed to India its concerns over the continued obstruction in supply of essential goods and hoped that New Delhi will soon resolve the issue, especially with festivals like Dussehra and Diwali coming up which are celebrated big in the Himalayan nation.

On the recent anti-India protests, he categorically said, “When India helped Nepal during earthquake crisis, everybody in Nepal praised them and thanked them but now when the supplies are choked, people will react and protest. It is natural.”

There have been many anti-India protests in Nepal as they feel that India has been retaliating against their government after the repromulgation of its new Constitution, over which India has been clearly irked as it feels the statute was discriminatory to ethnic Indian community, Madhesi, living in Nepal’s border districts.

These areas also witnessed violent protests by the Madhesis during the drafting of the Nepal Constitution.

Hours after the Constitution was passed by an overwhelming majority, violence escalated and soon after Indian trucks, which trundle daily across the borders with essential supplies towards Kathmandu, stopped.

According to reports, hundreds of trucks were waiting at the border with shipments including medicine, gasoline, cooking fuel and produce. India has dismissed suggestions that it has imposed any embargo against the supplies to Nepal and has maintained that the obstruction was due to protest and unrest in that country as Indian companies and transporters fear for their safety and security.

However, the Nepalese envoy said his government has given assurance to India that it will ensure their safety and security after entering Nepal.

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