South Asia

Neighbours May Have Concerns, but No Interference Accepted: Nepali Foreign Minister

A day after co-chairing the Joint Commission Meeting with Indian external affairs minister, Pradeep Gyawali met reporters and answered questions about China's role in Nepal.

New Delhi: Nepal’s close neighbours may have “concerns”, but the government does not accept interference from outside, Nepalese foreign minister Pradeep K. Gyawali said on Saturday.

A day after co-chairing the Joint Commission Meeting with Indian external affairs minister, Gyawali met with reporters, where he answered questions about China’s role in Nepal.

Following the dissolution of the lower house of parliament by Prime Minister K.P. Oli, the ruling Nepal Communist Party is likely to be split, with the rival camp under Pushpa Kamal Dahal having severe differences with Oli.

As per Nepalese media reports, China has been very active in trying to avert the split, with the Chinese envoy having hectic parleys with all factions. China had also sent a high-level delegation to Nepal to “assess” the political situation.

During the media interaction, Gyawali was asked on China’s enhanced activity in Nepalese polity.

“Nepal’s relation with both countries (India and China) is excellent. We never compared relations with others. We never accept interference in our domestic politics… We are able to settle our problems ourselves. Yes, being close neighbour, there may be some concerns, questions, but we never accept interference from external side,” he said.

This time, India has kept a very low-profile and worked hard to give the perception that it is not interfering in Nepalese politics.

However, just before Gyawali’s trip, Dahal had accused Oli of splitting the ruling party and dissolving parliament at “the direction of India”.

When asked about Dahal’s remarks, Gyawali dodged the question, stating that as foreign minister outside the country, he represents all of Nepal, including Dahal and the divided party faction.

Incidentally, the Nepalese foreign minister did not meet with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi before leaving for Kathmandu on Saturday afternoon. Modi had a busy schedule due to the roll-out of the vaccination drive. Earlier in the day, Gyawali had called on the Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh.

Before leaving, Gyawali asserted that India and Nepal had made a “common commitment” that the remaining segments of the boundary will be settled soon. “In which modality, it is under discussion”.

“Sanctity of the border is extremely important to make it secure. Demarcation is extremely important,” he added.

Gyawali also called for the Eminent Persons Group report, which was completed in 2016 to revise the 1950 treaty of friendship and peace “should be submitted, studied thoroughly and implemented gradually”.