Kathmandu: Nepal may have some differences with India but can never show enmity towards the country, Deputy Prime Minister C P Mainali said on Wednesday, in a climbdown from his earlier hardline stance.
"There may be some differences with India and the relations may pass through ups and downs, but it can be resolved through mutual dialogue and understanding," he said at a symposium organised by Nepal-India Friendship Society to mark India's 67th Republic Day here.
His remarks come amid an ongoing political crisis in Nepal involving Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, who have led a violent protest demanding more representation and are opposed to a seven provincial structure in the new Constitution that divides their ancestral homeland.
Nepal will pursue good neighbourly relations with both India and China, Mainali said as he extended best wishes to the people and government of India on the occasion.
His statements today are in stark contrast to his stance reflected in November last year when Mainali had accused India of trying to disintegrate the country and annex the Terai region.
He had also referred to the blockade of key border trade points with India by Madhesis, saying it was part of Indian conspiracy to annex the Terai by disintegrating it from the rest of the country.
Echoing similar sentiments over a robust bond, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said that no one can shake the strong foundation of Nepal-India relations, though there may be some misunderstanding from time to time, which can be cleared through dialogue.
India wants peace, stability and development in Nepal, he said, adding that the internal problems of Nepal can be resolved through peaceful negotiations. Nepal and India should pursue the agenda of development as both the countries have abundent human and natural resources, he said.
Speaking at the same function, former Prime Minister and coordinator of Naya Shakti Nepal Baburam Bhattarai underlined the need for youths of both the countries to collaborate and cooperate for their mutual benefit and prosperity.
He advised the leaders of both Nepal and India to change their perception and realise their past mistakes in view of the current stalemate, adding "there is a need to give new a perspective to the bilateral relations in the present changing situation".
"India should come out of its Cold War-era security perception and Nepal should free itself from the mentality of feeling insecured from its 'big neighbour' while dealing with each other.
"Development, rather than security should be the top agenda in the relations between the two neighbouring countries," Bhattarai said, adding that Nepal should try to benefit from its two economic powers India and China.