• India offers to airlift aviation fuel to Nepal

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    NEW DELHI: In the wake of China agreeing to supply oil to Nepal, India has offered to airlift Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) to the Himalayan country to beat the ongoing blockade on the border.

    Reacting guardedly to the agreement between Nepal and China for oil supplies, a “concerned” India said its impact on the future of Indo-Nepal trade has to be seen and hoped that Kathmandu will “sincerely” address the problems which have caused the current situation and that their bilateral relationship will return to its original status.

    External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India was ready to facilitate airlifting of the Aviation turbine fuel, as was done in past, as also re-routing of LPG supplies from those crossings which were not affected

    “We have seen reports that Nepal has signed a pact with China. Nepal’s maximum trade is through India. As far as petroleum products are concerned, 70 percent of petrol is supplied through Raxaul-Birganj point (which is choked by the agitators). How is this (Nepal-China) pact going to help has to be seen,” he said.

    He was asked about Nepal signing an agreement with China for the supply of petroleum products following the shortages caused by the blockade of land routes from India due to unrest over the new Constitution.

    He added, “We will certainly be concerned over growth of any anti-India sentiment in Nepal and we hope that the situation which has been caused entirely by problems on the Nepalese side will be resolved at the earliest and our relationship would once again return to its original status.”

    Asserting that India has not imposed any blockade, the supply was stopped because Nepal’s one section of the society was not in agreement on provisions of the Constitution and they were not allowing supplies from Indian side.

    “We have facilitated airlift of aviation turbine fuel earlier and we are ready to facilitate future similar operations and requests. We are also facilitating re-routing of LPG supplies from those crossings which are not affected,” the spokesperson said.

    He also hoped that the talks between the government of Nepal and United Democratic Madhesi Front would be fruitful and lead to early political settlement.

    “We hope that such a political resolution of issues facing Nepal would be institutionalized in a manner that would ensure broad-based ownership and acceptance of the Constitution by all section of the society including those disaffected agitating forces,” the spokesperson said.

    PNA/PTI

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