The new quadrilateral arrangement launched by China should have included India, a leading figure from Nepal’s plains said on Monday. Upendra Yadav, Chairman of the Janata Samajwadi Party of Nepal, said inclusion of India would have sent a positive message to the entire South Asian region.

Also read: China and Nepal have treated each other as equals: Xi Jinping

“They have agreed to coordinate and cooperate on a number of issues of regional concern as part of the quadrilateral process including Afghanistan, China, Nepal and Pakistan. This coordination would have been better if India was included in the consultation. I would say the consultation should be broadened and other South Asian countries should also be brought in it,” said Mr. Yadav who supported Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli in passing the second constitutional amendment that gave legal status to Nepal’s claim over Uttarakhand’s Kalapani.

Nepal had been seeking diplomatic dialogue with India to address the dispute over Kalapani but India has so far not agreed on a date. The China-led virtual quadrilateral ministerial discussion was held on July 27 where Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali participated with counterparts from China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The quadrilateral stood out as three of the four — China, Pakistan and Nepal — have territorial disputes with India.

The quadrilateral meeting was ostensibly organised to address the COVID-19 crisis but Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also mentioned maintenance of peace and security in the region as Pakistan raised the Belt and Road Initiative that India has opposed consistently. Asked about the quadrilateral, the Ministry of External Affairs last Thursday had drawn attention to the fact that India has been assisting regional countries in countering the COVID-19 crisis with medicines and equipment.

Mr. Yadav, who served as the Foreign Minister during 2008-2009, said there is no threat to India from the quadrilateral led by China. “No one can turn this initiative into a threat to India. Such efforts will fail if someone tries in future,” he said. Mr. Yadav had played a key role in the blockade of Nepal during 2015-16 which was mainly organised to address the representational deficit of the Madhesis or the people of the plains that border Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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