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Nepal PM wants India to 'immediately lift undeclared blockade'

The Panchsheel doctrine is a set of principles to govern relations between states. Their first formal codification in treaty form was an agreement between China and India in 1954.

PTI| Updated: Nov 15, 2015, 20:56 PM IST

Kathmandu: Invoking the Panchsheel principles, Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Sunday called on India to "immediately lift the undeclared blockade" imposed on Nepal that would help boost bilateral ties amid the recent political crisis over the country's new Constitution.

"Nepal wants to maintain relations with its neighbours on the basis of the principles of Panchsheel, Oli said.

The Panchsheel doctrine is a set of principles to govern relations between states. Their first formal codification in treaty form was an agreement between China and India in 1954.

Oli also asked neighbouring countries "to honour Nepal's territorial integrity, national sovereignty and independence".

Addressing the nation for the first time after assuming office last month, Oli said Nepal's new Constitution was excellent in terms of process and content.

"The ongoing blockade is worse than the war-time situation," he said asking India to swiftly lift the blockade.

Hospitals have run out of medicines and blood bags for emergency and people are unable to cook food due to the shortage of cooking gas as a result of the transport blockade, he said.

India has firmly denied imposing the blockade, saying truck drivers are concerned for their safety after violent protests against Nepal's new Constitution in which over 40 people were killed.

Calling on the agitating Madhes-based parties to end their protests, Oli assured that the Constitution would be amended and provincial borders redrawn on the basis of consensus among all to address the demands of the agitating parties.

The Constitution does not discriminate between people on the basis of caste, region or any other way, he said adding that the national charter was not discriminatory.

He said the unofficial blockade imposed by India was "unimaginable in the 21st century" adding that the blockade created a humanitarian crisis in Nepal obstructing supplies of life-saving medicines and fuel.

Construction of hydropower development projects will be expedited and use of electric vehicles will be established in the capital city in the near future to lessen foreign dependency on energy, he said.

Oli said the government has now realised it was Nepal's weakness to depend only on India for supplies of essentials.

Now the government would work to diversify trade and promote renewable alternative energies, he said.

Last month, Nepal signed a memorandum of understanding with China to import fuel, ending India's four-decade supply monopoly.