New Delhi: Nepalese ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay is in Kathmandu for consultations, two people familiar with the developments said on Tuesday on condition of anonymity, as tensions simmered between the neighbours over India’s alleged imposition of an economic blockade following its disapproval of Nepal’s new constitution.

Upadhyay who was called in over the weekend is expected to return in a day or two, one of the two people cited above said. Last week, India had called in its ambassador Ranjit Rae for consultations. He has since returned to Nepal.

This comes as Indian oil trucks have apparently stopped crossing into Nepal because of protests over the new constitution in the south of the country, prompting the Nepalese authorities to try to limit the use of cars and save fuel.

This has fanned anti-India sentiment in Nepal. On Monday, Nepal’s cable federation said it would suspend Indian television channels as protesters marched in Kathmandu carrying an effigy of prime minister Narendra Modi accusing India of imposing an economic blockade and meddling in internal politics, according to a Reuters news agency report.

Landlocked Nepal is almost completey dependent on India for overland supplies following the 25 April earthquake that was followed by several aftershocks that killed nearly 9,000 people and blocked crossings from China.

India has been critical of Kathmandu for rushing through the constitution, despite opposition from minorities living close to the border with India.

The tensions appear to have jolted Modi’s neighbourhood first foreign policy that has placed a lot of emphasis on improving ties with its immediate neighbours.

That improving ties with Nepal is a special priority for Modi was illustrated by the fact that the Indian prime minister visited Nepal twice within the space of four months. Modi first went to Nepal in August on a bilateral visit and then returned to Kathmandu in November for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit.

However with the new constitution adopted last week apparently overlooking the interests of key sections of Nepalese society including the Madhesis, who have cultural and ethnic links with people living in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, India has been concerned about the impact of instability in Nepal spilling over the borders.

Bihar is to go to the polls in October-November and there is worry among a section of Indian politicians that the unrest in Nepal against the constitution could impact local politics. India shares a 1,751km (1,088-mile) open border with Nepal through which people pass freely but which has often concerned India’s security agencies because of its use by smugglers, human traffickers and terror suspects.

So far, more than 40 people have been killed in protests in the Himalayan republic since August as protests by the country’s southern minority groups — the Madhesis, Janjatis and Tharus — who fear being marginalised in a new federal structure. According to some estimates, these three groups along with some smaller others represent almost 51% of Nepal’s approximately 27 million population.

These groups have rejected the new constitution that divides the country into seven new states. For instance, the Madhesis had demanded that state boundaries be drawn by ethnicity, which was rejected by the drafters of the constitution.

They say that the new charter does not respect their political and social rights.

According to news reports, the three groups see the new constitution as ensuring the dominance of the traditional political elites or the upper caste people of the hills.

India’s pique also stems from the fact that New Delhi had played host to several key Nepalese leaders including former Maoist leader Pushp Kamal Dahal and former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in the months prior to the draft constitution being made public. During the visits, India had nudged the leaders to take into account the interests of the Madhesis and others — something that the Nepalese leaders had assured India.

India also rushed its foreign secretary S. Jaishankar to Nepal to persuade Prime minister Sushil Koirala not to adopt the new constitution but that effort also failed.

Reuters contributed to this report

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