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India reiterates civilisational ties with Nepal

As Nepal prepared to vote on Saturday for a new map amidst the ongoing Kalapani territorial dispute, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday reiterated India's civilisational ties with Nepal. The official spokesperson of the ministry Anurag Srivastava refused to respond to Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli's comments condemning UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's recent comparison between Nepal and Tibet and highlighted India's humanitarian assistance to Nepal.

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"We have already made our position clear on these issues. India deeply values its civilisation, cultural and friendly relations with Nepal. Our multi-faceted bilateral partnership has expanded and diversified in the recent years with increased focus and enhanced Government of India's assistance on humanitarian, development and connectivity projects in Nepal," said Mr Srivastava.

The vote in the Nepali parliament for the Second Constitutional Amendment which will give legislative support to the new map has seen extensive discussion till now. On Thursday sources in Kathmandu said that the final round of discussion on the map is expected to be followed by voting in the lower house of the parliament on Saturday. Prime Minister Oli on Wednesday had responded sharply to the comments made by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who had warned Nepal of long term consequences for its current assertive policies. Mr Oli had said Mr Adityanath was not a central level figure in India and his responsibility was the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The official spokesperson also commented regarding other international developments especially on the United States and Pakistan. He termed the report on international religious freedom for 2019 published by the US Department of State as a do.cument produced for the domestic audience of the United States and said other countries don't have the right to criticise India on religious freedom.

Also read: 85% of people tested positive for coronavirus in Nepal are those who returned from India: PM Oli

"Our principled position remains that we see no locus standi for a foreign entity to pronounce on the state of our citizens's constitutionally protected rights," said Mr Srivastava regarding the report which had expressed concern about the state of religious freedom in India. The report which was earlier released by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hit the headlines because of comments by Samuel Brownback, the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom who said that India was moving away from its historical position of respecting all religions.

"The report is published annually by the department of state as part of its legal requirement to the US Congress and is an internal document of the US government. India's vibrant democratic traditions and practices are evident to the world," said Mr Srivastava in response to questions.

Imran Khan's remarks on economic stimulus

The Indian official hit out at the Pakistan leader for his social media posts and pointed at the alleged cases of corruption involving its political leaders and said, that the country is better known for cash transfer to banks abroad. Mr Khan had used his social media accounts to offer help to the poor households in India that are facing economic distress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He had claimed that 34 percent of Indian households will not survive a week without additional assistance. "I am ready to offer help and share our successful cash transfer programme," he had said.

In response, Mr Srivastava said, the Pakistan leader requires a "new set of advisers" and better information.

"We all have known about their debt problem and how much they have pressed for debt restructuring. It would also be better for them to remember that India has a stimulus package, which is as large as Pakistan's annual GDP," said Mr Srivastava.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 3:57:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-reiterates-civilisational-ties-with-nepal/article31806643.ece

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