With supplies from India disrupted due to the unrest in the border areas of Madhes over the new Constitution, fuel-starved Nepal moved to airlift petroleum products from a third country. The government plans to charter an Ilyushin aircraft to ferry in supplies.
The Nepal Oil Corporation floated a global tender Thursday, seeking bids for supply of fuel to the country that has almost come to a standstill because of a petroleum crisis caused by 18 days of protests.
Sources said the bidding process will be over by Sunday and the government will take a decision. For now, it will import around 500 KL (kilolitres) daily — 200 KL each of diesel and aviation fuel and 100 KL petrol.
In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs, expressing
“serious concern” over the “growth of anti-India sentiment” in Nepal, underlined that India was not imposing a blockade, official or unofficial.
MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said as many as 5,000 trucks were stranded on the Indian side of the border because of the unrest in Nepal.
“The problem in Nepal is their own creation. And that is why we are urging them to reach out to their own people. Put your house in order… We do recognise that there is growth of anti-India sentiment and this is something we are seriously concerned about. There is no doubt about that. But who is responsible for this… Who has stoked this anti-India sentiment,” Swarup said.
He said Indian goods were not able to enter Nepal because of the unrest there. “And for which the blame squarely lies with the Nepalese leadership and we hope that they do something about it so that the traditionally friendly relationship between Nepal and India can continue like before.”
On Nepal waving the China card, Swarup said India wants dialogue within Nepal to resolve issues. “But if they want to approach any other country, they are welcome. They are a sovereign, independent country and can make their own choices. We cannot constrain them but the kind of ‘roti-beti’ relationship they have with India, no other country can substitute it,” he said.