Want equality-based friendship with India, says Nepal PM Oli

Foreign Minister will visit Delhi and discuss border and several other issues: Sharma Oli

Nepal wants “equality-based friendship” with India, said Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli on Sunday. Addressing an extraordinary session of the Upper House of Parliament, Mr. Oli said Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali will visit India on January 14 to discuss the dispute related to the border and several other issues. He maintained that dissolution of the Lower House, Pratinidhi Sabha, was necessary and that the government under his leadership will seek a fresh political mandate to ensure stability.

“We have made great progress in the arena of international relations. I want to be a real friend of India. Nepal wants equality-based friendship with India and take it to a new height…Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali will travel to India on January 14 to discuss the issue related to our boundary, and several other matters as we want good bilateral relations,” said Mr. Oli who accused his rivals and critics inside the party of trying to destabilise the Himalayan country.

Also read: Time for India and Nepal to make up

The announcement has put an end to weeks of speculation about a breakthrough visit to help revive the relationship which was hit by the Kalapani territorial dispute for nearly a year. The dispute erupted after India published a new political map in November 2019 which prompted Nepal to introduce a map which claimed Pithoragarh’s Kalapani-Lipulekh-Limpiyadhura region.

Addressing the National Assembly which met on Sunday to discuss the dissolution of the Lower House, Prime Minister Oli accused his critics of trying to bring back the era of privileges for the upper classes and said they want to introduce the politics of “horse trading”.

Also read: Cold neighbourhood: On India-Nepal ties

“Whether K.P. Sharma Oli is popular or not is for the people to determine. We will go to the people again and seek a fresh mandate. We called for election with full sense of duty and responsibility and election will be held as planned [in April],” said Prime Minister Oli who blamed the ‘samasya’ or problem inside the ruling party for the drastic step taken to dissolve the Pratinidhi Sabha on December 20.

He said there is a section in Nepal that attempted to overthrow his government and bring instability as they are votaries of feudal system. “They want to send their own children to St. Joseph’s school in Darjeeling and to Oxford but do not want the boys and girls of poor Nepalese to be educated and become powerful. They continue to believe in the old feudal system as they do not want children of the economically disadvantaged people to become members of our Parliament.”

The Pratinidhi Sabha was dissolved in a lawful manner and as per the laid down procedure, he said. He said the Opposition and sections of the media are organising big political rallies against the decision but they cannot intimidate the Supreme Court which is deliberating on the writ petitions that challenged the December 20 decision. “They have been asking the judiciary to decide on the case while taking into consideration Nepal’s future. These sort of statements will not succeed,” said PM Oli.

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