Oct 6, 2015- The Indian establishment wants an amendment to the constitution to address the demands of agitating Madhes-based parties and the Tharu community through a fast-track process within this week, before the change of the Sushil Koirala-led government.
India remains concerned by the ongoing discussion on the government formation overshadowing the charter revision process to address the grievances of the agitating parties, said a Nepali diplomat who attended a meeting with officials from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Monday.
Nepali officials, including Nepali Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay, met Indian officials and discussed the ‘unofficial blockade’ imposed on Nepal.
“The amendment process should be concluded now when the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the Maoists have more than two-thirds majority required for amendment. If the new government is formed first, there is all likelihood that the amendment would never happen,” a Nepali diplomat quoted an Indian official as saying.
The Indian side clearly hinted at a protracted blockade unless amendments were made to accommodate the Madhesis’ and Tharus’ demands. A knowledgeable source said India wants to amend the constitution through fast-track and the length of the blockade hinges on whether Nepali leaders expedite the amendment or take a normal course.
“Once the amendment proposal is registered in the Parliament Secretariat, it can be decided to either fast-track the process or take the normal course, which could even take a month,” the source said.
Indian officials say there is a trust deficit and that they are in no mood to accept mere assurances. Instead, they want tangible action before the blockade is lifted.
Prof SD Muni, a Nepal expert, believes that India has clearly hinted at increasing the pressure now before the formation of the new government.
“Whoever forms the government may not have a two-thirds majority in the legislature to implement any political agreement later on. To convey this message India has tightened its restriction on the supplies,” he said, adding that it is important that Kathmandu understands India’s message clearly.
Published on: The Kathmandu Post (Oct 6, 2015)