Civil society groups in South Asia have strongly condemned the Indian government’s intervention in Nepal and its unofficial blockage of the border, now in its second week. The groups says: “We deplore the Indian government’s arm-twisting tactics and demand that it stop punishing the common people of Nepal and immediately withdraw the blockage”.
The blockade began after India objected to Nepal’s new constitution. Civil society says this ‘Big-brother’ and interventionist attitude is highly objectionable. They also object to the Indian government’s attempts to “micro-manage the country’s affairs by sending Nepal a list of clauses specifying the amendments that it seeks”. They say this blatant disregard for the autonomy of the Nepali government and its people is highly objectionable, as is its unofficial blockade of trade on the Indo-Nepal border.
The two groups: SAAPE, a regional level civil society network of eight countries of South, and People’s SAARC-India point out that this “collective punishment is .. totally against the concept of a South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) 2004; and violates the recent Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement; the UN Convention on Transit Trade of Land-locked States, the Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship; Convention on Transit Trade of Land-locked States (1965) and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea”
SAAPE and SAARC-India call on the Indian government to make a public commitment not to repeat similar actions in the future., saying it is incumbent upon the Government of India to respect the sovereignty of Nepal and let the Nepali people and the government handle their internal issues amongst themselves and promote peace and harmony in the region instead of harassing its neighbours and interfering in their internal matters.