A bomb has exploded outside an Indian diplomatic post in southern Nepal, causing damage and drawing attention for being a rare attack on a foreign mission in the landlocked South Asian country.
Arun Kumar, Nepal’s senior district police official, said on Tuesday that the homemade device went off late Monday at Biratnagar, which is located 200 kilometers southeast of the capital Kathmandu and close to the Indian border.
"There were no injuries in the pressure-cooker bomb blast, but the wall suffered some minor damage. We are investigating," the official said.
Sources in New Delhi said the explosion caused a hole in the wall of the consulate towards the secluded rear side of the office building.
A statement from an Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman said the Indian embassy in Kathmandu was in touch with Nepal's government over the incident. "No one has been injured in the incident. ... The security authorities in Nepal are investigating the matter," the statement read.
No individual or group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Police, however, suspect involvement of a Maoist splinter group which had called a strike in the area
Nepal's relationship with India soured after a months-long border blockade in 2015 by ethnic minority protesters over a controversial new constitution.
Senior officials in Kathmandu accused India of imposing an "unofficial blockade" on the landlocked nation in support of the protesting group, who share close cultural, linguistic and family links with Indians across the border.
Nepal is heavily dependent on India for fuel and other supplies. Earlier this month, Nepal's newly elected Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli visited India in a bid to reset strained relations.