India welcomed the new Nepalese government's move to hold talks with the agitating Madhesi parties, and said all bilateral issues, including the blockade of border trade points, were discussed during Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa's recent visit to New Delhi.
India's Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said the visit by Thapa, his first overseas trip after taking over earlier this month, signifies the importance of bilateral ties reports PTI from Kathmandu.
He also welcomed the initiative by the new government of K P Sharma Oli to hold discussion with the Madhesi parties of the plains who are protesting for more representation in the newly-adopted Constitution.
The nearly two-month-old protests in Nepal's southern plains bordering India have halted the delivery of essential goods and fuel to Nepal through the main trading points.
Rae said during his three-day visit, Thapa discussed the blockade of the trading points with the top Indian leadership.
Thapa, who is also the Foreign Minister of Nepal, had met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. He also paid a courtesy call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The situation in the border areas were discussed during Thapa's meetings in New Delhi, Rae said but dismissed reports that India bears any responsibility for the blockade.
He said the supplies were disrupted not by India but because of the agitation by Madhesi parties. "Opening and closing the border is not in the hands of India."
The Birgunj-Raxaul border post, the main India-Nepal trading point, has been closed for about two months now.
Rae, however, said that nearly 1,000 trucks were being moved into Nepal through alternate routes. India is actively considering re-routing the vehicles, he said.
Thapa today held informal talks with the leaders of the agitating Madhesi parties. The discussions were held at the office of the Terai Madhes Democratic Party in Kathmandu.
When asked about the proposal sent by Nepal to China to supply petroleum products, Rae said Nepal is a sovereign country and it can trade with any country it chooses to.
It is totally baseless to say that India is supporting one particular community in Nepal. Indian government is engaging with Nepal as a whole, not just with a particular community, he said.
Thapa also discussed with Indian leaders the upcoming visit by the Nepalese Prime Minister, though the date of the visit is yet to be finalised, Rae said.
Prime Minister Modi, while extending congratulation to Oli upon his election to the top executive post of the country also extended an invitation to visit India.