-  Saturday 24 October 2020

India protests UN official's comments from Nepal

 -  New Kerala

Kathmandu, Feb 04 2008 - Stung by a top UN official's comments that India had links with the ethnic armed groups in Nepal's Terai plains, New Delhi has lodged strong protests with the UN, pointing out that the comments go beyond the world body's mandate and could mar the friendly relations between India and Nepal.

The Indian mission in New York has lodged separate protests with Vijay Nambiar, chef de cabinet at the UN Security Council (UNSC), and Angela Kane, UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs.

The protests came after Matthew Kahane, resident representative in Nepal of the UN Development Programme, said in a controversial interview that India could help check the armed groups active in the southern plains.

"Some of these groups that are making life difficult in Terai may have some kind of links in North India," Kahane reportedly said.

"It would be enormously helpful if Indian authorities are able to keep these people under control."

The comment was first tacitly refuted by the Indian Ambassador to Nepal Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, who said in Kathmandu that Nepal could solve the protest movements in its plains on its own without India's intervention.

However, New Delhi, that has been eyeing with wariness the UN's bid to increase its activities in Nepal, decided to lodge a strong protest at the UN headquarters formally.

A new cold war has begun between India and the world body after the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) - which was invited by the Nepal government last year to manage the arms and combatants of the Maoists and oversee the crucial April poll - tried to get more responsibilities but was refused by Nepal's ruling parties.

Undeterred by the rebuff, UNMIN lobbied for a role in Nepal's security sector reform at the UN Security Council meeting last month but was blocked by India, China and Russia.

Kahane's comment, coming on the heels of UNMIN's defeat at the UNSC, is being regarded by India as an attempt to affect India-Nepal ties.

After India's protests, the UN tried to downplay Kahane's comments.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's office said that Kahane's remarks were "not intended to suggest that the Government of India has influence over Nepalese groups that have recently been limiting the steady flow of essential goods into the Terai region of Nepal, such as food.

"India is an important partner in the region and we appreciate very much the unfailing and long-standing assistance and support that India has provided to the United Nations and, more importantly, to the people of Nepal," Ban's spokesperson said.

New Delhi, which is supporting Nepal's bid to hold the twice-deferred election in April, has also been irked by another recent statement by UNMIN chief Ian Martin.

While condemning a blast at Birgunj town in the Terai last week, where the ruling parties were holding a joint political rally, Martin said such incidents could affect the April 10 constituent assembly election - a comment that India considers tantamount to intervening in Nepal's internal matters and exceeding its mandate.

Source : New Kerala

Other articles by reporter New Kerala

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