India Nepal's Elder Brother, Not Big Brother: Sushma Swaraj

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said India will always assist its neighbour and never become a source of difficulties.

Published: 22nd February 2016 11:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2016 11:18 PM   |  A+A-


 DELHI: Amid growing warmth in ties after the chill caused by the Madhesi agitation, India on Monday said it was an "elder brother" to Nepal and not "big brother" as often described.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said India will always assist its neighbour and never become a source of difficulties.

Swaraj emphasized on the age-old ties between the two countries to make her point and repeatedly praised the Nepalese political leadership and prime minister K P Sharma Oli for having promulgated the new Constitution.

"I congratulate their (Nepal's) political leadership for showing maturity in difficult circumstances (post-earthquake). They said that it was time to create the Constitution all the more and the political leadership came together and did so," Swaraj said.

"But few issues cropped up. Madhesis thought they have received less than expected political representation. But I want to reiterate my gratitude to the Nepali political leadership that taking their (Madhesis') demand as legitimate they passed two amendments under the leadership of Sushil Koirala.

Swaraj said the Oli government "bettered" those amendments and passed them. Otherwise amendments are not brought soon after promulgation of a Constitution, she said.

She hoped that the "political mechanism" put in place by Oli will address the remaining concerns of the Madhesi community and praised him for engaging them in a dialogue. "This is the power of democracy that we resolve our issues through political dialogue."

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar had recently said the "tone and tenor" of Oli's visit was forward-looking, adding "assurances" given about addressing grievances within Nepal, if left unaddressed, may "detract" the country from stability.

Presiding over the 21st Sapru House Lecture of the Indian Council of World Affairs here where Oli delivered the keynote lecture, Swaraj stated that "few people" who don't want good bilateral relations between the two say that India maintains a "big brother" attitude towards Nepal.

"The Hindi meaning of big brother is elder brother. But the construct of big brother is a western one. Its Indian translation is elder brother. We view it from a different perspective.

"Big brother is egotist whereas elder brother shows concern. Elder brother tries to assist you in solving your problems. India is that elder brother who will never become the cause of your difficulties and will assist you. I welcome you as the elder sister of that elder brother," she said.

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