NEW DELHI: Representing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Friday met the Nepali leadership and politicians, and had extensive discussions with them. He reiterated Modi’s message of widest possible agreement on the Nepal Constitution.
Jaishankar’s journey to Kathmandu as the Indian PM’s envoy was in the context of the volatile situation in the Terai plains, where the new Constitution does not find much traction due to disagreements over boundaries of new States.
The new Constitution was passed by an overwhelming majority on Tuesday and ‘authenticated’ by the Constituent Assembly chairman.
It will be formally promulgated on Sunday by the Nepalese president Ram Baran Yadav.
Jaishankar met Ram Baran Yadava and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and held separate meetings with CPN-UML chair KP Oli, who is likely to be the next PM, and Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
He also had lunch in the Indian Embassy with leaders of Madhesi parties, who have been leading the agitation in the Terai plains. As per reports, Madheshi Front leader Mahendra Ray Yadav had said that developments in Nepal were Indian concerns as well, since several thousands of the plains’ residents had moved to India to take refuge due to the violence. Sources said that there was still scope to meet the aspirations of the Madhesis, as the nuts and bolts of the creation of the States were yet to be ironed out. After meeting with Madhesi leaders, Jaishankar met with KP Oli for three hours.
Oli, who is the key in pushing forward the Constitution and will become the Prime Minister after its promulgation, had been in touch with Indian leaders.
Oli informed him about the progress made by Nepal in drafting the new constitution and assured that the issues raised by the Madhesi communities of southern Nepal will also be addressed in the new statute in an attempt to bring the disgruntled parties in the political mainstream, CPN-UML sources said.
Worried over the reaction in the plains, Oli’s aides had camped in Delhi as the clauses of the Constitution were being endorsed one by one, and met senior South Block officials.
During his meeting with Nepalese leaders, Jaishankar is also learnt to have expressed India’s concern over the escalating violence in the southern Nepal bordering Indian states over the issue of federal structure. The Foreign Secretary will return to Delhi on Saturday.