| September 25, 2018

India has no intention to undermine Nepal's Sovereignty: Indian minister

NEW DELHI, May 22: Indian Minister of State for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal has said that India is never a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of Nepal.

He said India wants a relationship with Nepal based on equality.

"Nepal's sovereignty is equally important for us. We always want to see Nepal's integrity remaining intact," Goyal told a group of visiting Nepali journalists in New Dehli on Sunday.

Goyal termed the recent tensions in Nepal-India bilateral relations a 'temporary setback'.

"In the past, while treating Nepal, New Delhi tried to project India as a big brother but the present Indian government wants to strengthen people to people relations further and to establish relations of equal brothers with Nepal," said Goyal.

Arguing that bargaining is to some extent obvious in politics and diplomacy, Goyal said that Nepal and India should move forward for economic development, leaving behind political issues.

He also claimed that the work on hydro projects like Arun-III and Upper Karnali have gathered some momentum in the last two years though not up to the level of expectations.

"India will transmit around 600 megawatt electricity in the next two years through the Muzaffarpur- Dhalkebar transmission line," said Goyal.

When asked about the transit treaty signed by Nepal with northern neighbor China, State Minister Goyal, who has independent charge of power, coal and renewable energy, said that it is up to the Nepali people to take such decisions as a sovereign and independent country.

"It is up to Nepali people to decide who would be safer for them," he added.

Meanwhile, Vinaya Sahashrabuddhe, one of the vice-presidents of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said that India is not worried by Nepal-China relations or any other relations. "The strength of India-Nepal relations is mainly based on people to people connections. Thus, no relations in the world can replace India-Nepal relations," said Sahashrabuddhe.

"We will remain brothers by respecting the emotional spaces in the relationship between us," he added.

Asked about the BJP's interest in reestablishing a Hindu state in Nepal, Sahashrabuddhe said that their interest does not have any meaning over the Nepali people's own wish on how they wish to project their country.