Kathmandu, Aug 20 (IANS) In its first reaction to the Kashmir issue after the revocation of Article 370, Nepal on Tuesday said it is closely watching developments in Jammu and Kashmir and favours peaceful resolution of any problem.
Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said on Monday that Nepal believes the Indian leadership is capable of resolving any issue peacefully.
This is the first time Nepal has officially spoken about Jammu and Kashmir since the Indian government on August 5 abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gave Jammu and Kashmir special status, and bifurcated the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Gyawali said Nepal mainly had two concerns – “well-being of Nepalis living and working in Jammu and Kashmir, and regional peace and security.”
“Thousands of Nepali citizens are working there. Nepal is concerned about their well-being,” said Gyawali at a press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Our embassy in New Delhi is constantly in touch with the Indian government on the matter. As of now, we have not received any reports of Nepalis facing difficulties, and we are hopeful they will not face difficulties in the future.”
Around 80,000 Nepalis are estimated to be living and working in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Gyawali also said Nepal had always been in favour of peace and stability in the neighbourhood and the region. Stating that Nepal wants peaceful resolution to any problem, he said Nepal believes the the Indian leadership was capable of resolving any issue peacefully, the Himalayan Times reported.
“We believe dialogue is the only way to resolve misunderstanding between neighbouring countries or South Asian countries. As chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, we would like to convey the same message.”
Asked if the Jammu and Kashmir issue would be part of talks in the upcoming Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting slated for August 21-22 in Kathmandu, Gyawali said these issues would not and should not be part of Nepal-India bilateral talks. “We do not discuss or comment on others’ issues.”
His comments come ahead of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Kathmandu on Wednesday for the Joint Commission meeting.