Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday raised a question mark over his planned visit to India by saying it will be inappropriate for him to go to New Delhi as long as a blockade of border posts continues.
For more than five months, protest by Madhesis in the southern Terai region against Nepal’s new constitution has resulted in the blockading of key sections of the 1,868-m border.
Most of the 41 transit points along the southern portion of the border have been besieged by protestors demanding a redrawing of boundaries and greater representation in parliament.
During an interaction with editors at his residence here, Oli said he will not visit India until the situation in the Terai normalises, IANS reported. He expressed the hope the blockade at key border points will be lifted within a couple of days.
“I believe in friendship between friends, political honesty among friends and upon my confidence...I am hopeful that the embargo at border points will be lifted,” he said.
An India visit by Oli, the first foreign trip after he assumed office, was expected in late February, according to the Nepali media. But the leftist premier, who has been unwilling to address the grievances of Madhesi protestors, has declared his resolve not to visit New Delhi till the agitation in the Terai ends.
The Terai has almost 51% of Nepal’s population and gets only a third of seats in parliament.
Nepal is falling short of fuel, essential supplies and medicines because of the prolonged blockade. India has been urging Nepal to reach out to the discontented sections in the Terai region as soon as possible.