Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nepal's Prachanda for 'new level of understanding' with India

Kathmandu: Maoist leader Prachanda, who has recently been engaged in a bitter attack on India, has said he wants a "new level of understanding" to be developed with the "big neighbour" with which Nepal enjoys "distinct" ties, unlike China.

The chairman of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) emphasised that India and China cannot have an equal role in the affairs of Nepal as India's ties with Nepal have a "specific" character "dictated" by aspects like open border andhistorical, geographical and cultural linkages.

"We are never ignoring our distinct historical, geographical and cultural relationship with India. We cannot ignore it. Only we can develop a new level of understanding to strengthen our relations," the 56-year-old former prime minister told PTI in an interview here.

He said the new understanding with India needed to be developed on the basis of "changed scenario" in Nepal and after addressing all outstanding issues, like revision of the 1950 Friendship Treaty and resolving Kalapani and Susta border disputes.

Insisting that the impression about his being anti-India is wrong, Prachanda said, "The fact is that we want to develop a new basis and new level of understanding (with India) to strengthen the relationship and to have economic development in this country."

Prachanda, who led a decade-long armed struggle against the monarchy before joining the mainstream in 2005, regretted that his demands for revising the Friendship Treaty and solving other issues were being misconstrued as an attempt to create some difficulties.

"We are not against good relations with India," he said.

"But to have good relations, we should focus on some issues of history, we should have to address old treaties, the (1950 Friendship) Treaty of (former King) Rana regime, solve border issues Susta and Kalapani," he said, adding he wanted these issues, as also the trade imbalance, to be addressed once and for all.

Prachanda, whose original name is Pushpa Kamal Dahal, has recently been engaged in a vitriolic attack on India, alleging that it has been interfering in Nepal's affairs and "dictating" to its leadership. This prompted a sharp reaction from New Delhi.

"If we are able to convey our concerns to Indian leadership, it will be very easy to develop newer basis, to have a good relations with India," he contended.

Prachanda, who is seen as pro-China, observed that both India and China have fast growing economies and "We want to benefit from our big neighbours."

Asked whether India and China had the equal role in Nepal, Prachanda said, "There is no comparison... We cannot compare. There is no confusion in our mind."

Maintaining that he favoured "good neighbourly relations with these big neighbours", he said, "obviously there is a major role for India because of open border, history, culture, geography. All these things dictate the policy.""We have distinct relations with India, specific feature of relationship with India, dictated by history, geography, culture," Prachanda said.

To reinforce the special character of Indo-Nepal relations, he noted that his two daughters are married in India, making it a "roti, beti ka samband (a relationship of bread and daughter)."

When pointed out that he is seen to have pro-China tilt, the Maoist leader said, "This is baseless. People have some sort of prejudice and some sorts of illusion."

"We want to build good neighbourly relations with both the countries. But there is no comparison. India is India, China is China. We don't want to be pro-China or pro-India. We will be pro-Nepalese."

Asked what then explains his six visits to China over the last two years, he sought to underline that he had travelled to India and stayed there much more regularly, even dating back to his underground days in 1990s.

"I visited India hundreds and hundreds of time, even during war. Even after becoming PM, I visited India three times," he said.

He said he wanted Nepal to benefit from India's economic growth which would be good for India itself.

"If Nepal remains poor and unstable, it will have impact mainly on India. It will have impact also on China but because of historical, geographical and cultural and economic relations, there will be serious impact between Nepal and India," he said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear editor,
We, the nationalist Nepalese people support the nationalistic approach of the Maoist leader Prachanda. Apart to mandate of popular movement, Nepal's existence has been made endangered.
Former Premier Kirtinidhi Bist writes (Rajdhani, 25th Aug.2009 (9th Bhadra 2066) "Nepal is now like a pilot-less aero plane. Indian ambassador is behaving like Viceroys in British India. Now it is necessary to understand Nepal's situation or condition by China and India. The nation's identity should be maintained on the basis of cultures and traditions so that the nation would remain strongly united. Nepal needs a politician and a mature diplomat, also the country needs a national commitment to welfare of people and sovereign existence of the nation. We must have courage to counter larger and stronger countries, not teasing them." But, the Indian side is not willing listen the voices of nationalists of Nepal.
In the 10th Bhadra issue of Rajdhani, Prof Dipak Gajurel has written –"The Sugauli treaty that was signed in 1816 between Nepal and British India has been dismissed since 59 years ago. The dismissal of Sugauli treaty means Nepalese territory is automatically as that before the war of 1841-1816 between Nepal and British India. Current territory of Nepal in between Mechi and Mahakali has been given by aricle 2 of Sugauli treaty. After the dismissal of Sugauli treaty by a treaty of 1950, our territory automatically remains as Tista in east, Satlaj in west and nearly Ganga River in south. However the territory is still in the control of India. Nepal has been gained it. Since 1950 treaty is still functional, Nepal should gain back the territories of east to Mechi, west to Mahakali and that of south which are in control of India."
In the same regard, several nationalists including Prof Fanindra Nepal demanded the return back of lost parts (Tista to Kangada) of Nepal protesting in front of Indian Embassy in the occasion of Republic Day of India in 2009. These aggressive rebel voices were not raised without any reason. If Indian interests in Nepal are like that of to Bhutan and Sikkim, India won't be safe. India should learn a lesion that if such activities continue, India could split in pieces because terrorism can be nstitutionalized. Seeking help for nothing is becoming national belief and due to this our international reputation wouldn't be improved.
Pradip Nepal, leader of UML writes in Gorkhapatra 19th Aug. 2009 (3rd Srawan 2066 – "Darjiling area of east was taken in lease for temporary use by British Indian administrators. They used to pay Tax (Morgase) to Nepal. After 1947, Darjiling became a part of Indian Territory due Rana and later administrators of Nepal, though it was never the part of India in history. Indian ambassadors make addresses saying the co-operations of billions of rupees to Nepal. But since 1950, they hide the fact that India earns thousands of billions rupees from forcefully controlled parts of Nepal. If India wants to be good neighbor then it must raise itself from this greediness."
Although it is late, Prachanda, the Maoist leader has opened the reality of Indian intervention (after Jun.20- 2010) 'India should return the Nepali land, after India became free, that which had lost after the Sugauli Treaty-1816 with the British ruler in India and all other unequal treaties. The Sugauli Treaty is no more in existence after the British rulers quit India, the treaty with them doesn't exist.' We welcome the strong voice of the Maoist leader Prachanda (the first political leader who is dimanding the Nepalese sovereign prestige. So, We extend thanks and we request to be strong to save the Nepalese identities including the monarchy, Hindu & Buddha's Kingdom to show the identity of Nepal. That is all.
Thank you.

Sincerely yours
Dirgha Raj Prasai
Former member of Parliament,Nepal ( Two times)
Former Consultant Administrative Staff College.
Former Advisor-Home & Development Ministry, Nepal.