New Delhi, January 16
Nepal does not accept interference in its domestic politics as it is capable of handling its internal problems, Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said on Saturday, in comments that came against the backdrop of China wading into the political turmoil in the Himalayan nation following the dissolution of its parliament.
Gyawali’s assertion came at a media interaction when asked about China’s attempt to play a role in the aftermath of fast-paced political developments in Nepal last month.
“We never accept interference in our domestic politics. We are able to settle our own problems. As a close neighbour, there may be some concerns or questions but we never accept interference,” the Nepalese foreign minister said.
Nepal plunged into a political turmoil following Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s sudden decision to dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections in view of internal feud in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
As the crisis deepened, China rushed a high-level team headed by Vice Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Guo Yezhou to Kathmandu to hold talks with the rival factions within the NCP after the Chinese ambassador in the country failed to sort out differences.
The team held talks with almost all top Nepalese leaders but had to return empty handed. The Chinese meddling in Nepalese political developments triggered strong criticism within Nepal.
Gyawali said Nepal’s relations with both India and China are excellent and that it never compares ties with each other.
Asked about the political crisis and role of NCP leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal who is popularly known as Prachanda, Gyawali refused to make any direct comment and said as foreign minister of the country, he represents everyone in Nepal.
At the same time, the Nepalese foreign minister justified Oli’s decision to dissolve parliament saying he followed the democratic principle of seeking fresh mandate from the people whose decisions are supreme in a democracy.
“In democracy, people are the final authority to decide about who will govern. I think dissolution of the parliament is a reflection of the internal issue. It is not wise to blame anybody,” Gyawali said.
“Prime Minister Oli thought that time has come to seek a fresh mandate in line with universally accepted practice of seeking people’s views,” the Nepalese foreign minister said.
Asked about the boundary row between Nepal and India, Gyawali said both the countries have common commitment to resolve the issue.
“We have the common commitment to resolve it. The sanctity and security of the border is extremely important for expanding the overall developmental cooperation… We both have realised the urgency (to resolve the border issue),” he said.
Ties between India and Nepal came under severe strain after Nepal last year published a new political map that showed three Indian territories – Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh – as part of Nepal.
When asked about India’s assertion that the areas were its part, Gyawali said that “historical documents speak the reality”, in an indication that they belonged to Nepal.
“We can sit together with mutual trust to find a solution,” he said. Gyawali, accompanied by Nepalese Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal, arrived here on Thursday on a three-day visit.
On Friday, Gyawali held wide-ranging talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar covering the entire expanse of bilateral ties.
In the interaction, he also batted for an early review of the Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship treaty of 1950 and flagged concerns over his country’s increasing trade deficit with India.
Asked whether Nepal was looking to procure coronavirus vaccine from both India and China, Gyawali said the supply of vaccines should be viewed as global public good and that scientific aspects should determine decision making and not political judgement.
He said affordability, availability and promptness in supply as well as compatible infrastructure to store the vaccines in Nepal will determine its decisions on their procurement.
In their talks on Friday, Jaishankar and Gyawali held a comprehensive review of all aspects of bilateral ties including border management, connectivity, trade, power, oil and gas, water resources, capacity building and tourism among others.
It was the first high-level engagement between the two sides after relations nosedived following the boundary row. PTI