Former prime minister KP Sharma Oli on Thursday accused India of trying to corner Pakistan and said Nepal should not back such moves.
Presenting a political document at a politburo meeting of his CPN-UML party, Oli said some sub-regional forums such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal initiative (BBIN) were working for India’s interests.
“India’s strategy is clearly to corner Pakistan. In the backdrop of events such as the postponement of the Saarc summit and India’s promotion of regional and sub-regional forums like BIMSTRC and BBIN, it is clear India wants to corner Pakistan but Nepal should not support such steps,” he said.
The CPN-UML chairman contended the sub-regional forums would become a tool for fulfilling India’s interests.
Oli, who became premier in October 2015 after the promulgation of a new Constitution and an economic blockade along the border with India by Madhes-based parties, shared acrimonious ties with New Delhi.
India-Nepal ties witnessed a new low during Oli’s tenure, which also saw Nepal signing a transport and transit treaty with China. After quitting in July last year when the Maoists withdrew support to his government, Oli blamed India for his ouster.
Some sections have highlighted the pacts Oli inked with China, saying they had increased Beijing’s clout. But Oli dismissed such suggestions and said Nepal should opt for an independent foreign policy and not be part of any bloc.
Nepal should promote cooperation and partnership with all friendly nations and neighbours, he said. “Regional avenues like Saarc and BIMSTEC might be the wheel of powerful nations to fulfill their interest, (and) we should make all possible efforts to stop them,” he added.
Efforts are underway to “keep Nepal within the clutches of India” but the CPN-UML wants relations based on mutual benefit, non-alignment and respect for sovereignty, Oli said.