India open to talks with Nepal in environment of trust

Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli (2nd L) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi (2nd R) as his wife Radhika Shakya Oli (L) gestures during Oli’s ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India’s Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi, India, April 7, 2018. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) India on Thursday said that it was open to engaging with Nepal on the basis of mutual respect and in an environment of trust to resolve the boundary issue.

Recently, Nepal had issued a new political map which included Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani, areas which have been part of the Indian territory.

On May 8, after Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a new road connecting the Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand with the Kailash Mansarovar route in China, Nepal protested against it and threatened to put up a security post in the area.

On Thursday, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag Srivastava, said at a virtual media briefing that India was open to engaging with all its neighbours on the basis of mutual sensitivity and respect, in an environment of trust and confidence.

“This is a continuous process and requires constructive and positive efforts,” he said.

The statement came after reports emerged that the constitutional amendment backed by Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli to alter Nepal’s map has been put on hold. According to some reports, Oli wasn’t able to build a consensus on the move.

Srivastava said that New Delhi continues to monitor the situation in Nepal. “We note that this matter is receiving careful consideration in Nepal, taking its seriousness into account,” he said.

India, he said, attached great importance to the deep rooted historical, cultural and friendly relations with Nepal.

“In recent years, our relations have been on an upward trajectory which is evident from expanding and diversified bilateral cooperation and Government of India’s increased assistance for development and connectivity projects,” he said.

The government spokesperson said that it has resulted in timely implementation of several large scale and critical projects. Even in these challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, India has ensured unimpeded trade and supply of essentials, including medicines, to Nepal, besides providing assistance in terms of medical supplies and other facilitation.

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