KATHMANDU: The UCPN Maoist Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal has been in New Delhi for some time now and has been in intense discussions with Indian ruling and opposition leaders and bureaucrats. Various sources have confirmed that anti-Indian activities, border dispute, air marshal and trilateral investments in Nepal have topped the agenda of these meetings.
Anti-Indian activities pushed by the revolutionary Maoists (CPN Maoist) and some other political set ups have been a major concerns of Indian leaders from ruling and opposition camp. During several rounds of meetings with Indian leaders, Prachanda – who himself has graciously used the anti-Indian rhetoric in the past- has assured the Indian side to subside all kinds of anti-Indian activities on Nepali soil. This concern sounds similar to that of China, which has repeatedly asked Nepali government and leaders to subside anti-Chinese activities of Tibetan refugees in Nepal. And Prachanda has assured the Indian side, like he did to Chinese side, that he, his party and the incumbent government will not tolerate any anti-Indian activities across the nation.
Dispute border issues have been a long-standing row between both Nepal and India. Though the same dispute has been one of the major agenda of Prachanda’s party while in war or after the war, he seems to have rested a bit on it this time around. After intense discussions with Indian leaders, the Maoist supremo has conceded that the joint committee on border issue, sit together and provide recommendations to resolve those long standing issues. The issue, for the time being, seems to be pushed aside though.
Since the hijack of Indian airlines from Kathmandu in 1999, the Indian government has stressed on allowing to depute air marshals in its Nepal bound flights. But the issue has not been endorsed by the Nepali side so far after it was attached to the nation’s sovereignty and taken as a serious set back to Nepal’s security by some ‘nationalist’ parties. During his meeting, Prachanda has tried to assuage this concern also, to some extent. He has proposed that Nepal will depute its own armed guards as air marshals on those flights and has proposed that India train these guards. Though any official confirmation on the issue is not yet officially confirmed, the solution nonetheless has provided some positive feedback from Nepal.
During his recent visit to China, Prachanda’s discussion with the Chinese leadership had focus on implementing trilateral projects in Nepal, including mega projects like the Upper Karnali Hyrdro Power and the Mid-Mountain Road expansion project. In response China has shown willingness to cooperate with India on such projects. However the Indian side seems to have added a strong dimension to the proposal as Prachanda claimed that Nepal will ask for Chinese aid in any India-backed projects only after holding consultations with the Indian side.
Prachanda is returning from India on Monday and though most of the details of this visit remain elusive, it can be surely concluded that he has made full use of his position in mending his and his party’s relationship with India.
Written and Edited by Chitra Raj Bhandari with inputs from Rishi Dhamala in New Delhi.