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India still 'sceptical' about Nepal Constitution: media

Press Trust of India  |  Kathmandu 

India remains "sceptical" about Nepal's new Constitution, the media here commented today, a day after bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Oli in New Delhi.

The about Oli's visit to India, his first foreign trip as premier, was prominently reported by the Nepalese media which however noted that India is still sceptical about the implementation of the new Constitution that led to turbulence in bilateral ties.

India yesterday conveyed to Nepal that success of its new Constitution will depend on resolution of contentious issues through "consensus and dialogue" in a time-bound manner as Oli and Modi held extensive talks with focus on repairing ties soured in the wake of the agitation by the Madhesis who are mostly of Indian origin.

With a banner headline, "India just extends support (to the constitution)" Nepali language daily Nagarik said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi terms the new Constitution of Nepal as a significant achievement".

"India cautiously welcomes the new constitution, though she had earlier just 'noticed' the adoption of the document," it said.

"The support extended by India to the Nepalese constitution was just a formality, and India is still sceptical about the implementation of the document," it said.

"Modi government lifted the economic blockade just a few days ago after Prime Minister Oli took the stance that he would not visit India without lifting the blockade," it said referring to the five-month agitation by the Madhesi community demanding better representation and political rights in the newly-promulgated Constitution.

"The Indian side still doesn't seem to be satisfied with the new constitution" the Annapurna Post said in its frontpage analysis.

"During the joint press conference in New Delhi, Modi has urged Nepal government to address the remaining issues of the constitution through consensus and dialogue, which clearly shows India's dissatisfaction over the constitution," the daily said.

During the high level talks, "Oli asked Modi to respect Nepal's sovereignty and territorial integrity" it said.

India had allowed the Madhesi agitators to demonstrate in no man's land on the border during the Madhesi agitation, the daily said adding the "Madhesi cadres were engaged in anti-national activities using the Indian soil".

"Indian officials even met with the secessionist Madhesi leader C K Raut in New Delhi," it said.

The main aim of Oli's visit to India was to clear

misunderstandings and mend ties, the Kathmandu Post said.

"During the 30-minute meeting between the two prime ministers there were telltale signs of rapprochements," the daily said under the headline, "Hand in Hand, eyes on mending ties".

"India had earlier expressed reservations about some of the provisions of the constitution against which some sections of society including the Madhesis were also protesting," the daily said.

"Most importantly, New Delhi's curt response that India had noted the constitution in Nepal had irked the political leadership in Kathmandu no end. But on Saturday Indian PM Modi, while addressing the joint press meet called the constitution an important achievement," it said.

Nepal and India signed nine agreements including one on utilisation of Indian grant of USD 250 million to Kathmandu for post-earthquake reconstruction and another on improving road infrastructure in the Terai region bordering India.

First Published: Sun, February 21 2016. 17:42 IST