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Carrots and sticks

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Nepal and India will review the controversial 1950 bilateral treaty, it was announced at the end of Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna’s three-day long visit to Nepal on Sunday.

In a joint statement, the two countries said they had directed their foreign ministries to review the treaty in order to strengthen bilateral relations. Kantipur writes:

Maoists have asked for re-evaluation of the treaty as part of their ongoing nationwide campaign for “national independence”. India’s willingness to review the treaty shows they may be trying to address the Maoists’ concerns.

In fact, Krishna’s visit seemed to focus on the Maoists party’s opposition to Indian policies in Nepal. On Sunday, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said India continues exercise interventionist policies even though Krishna had assured him that India would stop interfering in Nepal’s affairs.

The Indian minister, on the other hand, is said to be displeased with the Maoists’ anti-Indian sloganeering as part of their fourth round of protests. Republica writes:

India said that the Maoist allegations against India are baseless. Indian External Affairs Ministry quoting a government spokesperson, said Saturday that such allegations “vitiate the age-old and time-tested friendly relations” between the two countries. The spokesperson further said that Krishna told Dahal that “such baseless propaganda has a negative impact on Indian public opinion,” according to the spokesperson.

But, before his departure, Krishna said India would treat Maoists like any other political party in Nepal. The Himalayan Times writes:

[Krishna] said he conveyed to the Maoist leadership that India would like to deal with them just like any other political party in Nepal – with respect and with a sense of equality.

The Maoists have apparently offered “high-level” talks with India in order to improve the party’s relations with India. Maoist party’s foreign department chief Krishna Bahadur Mahara said Dahal made such request during his meeting with Krishna on Saturday. The Kathmandu Post reports:

“India’s concerns [are] mainly centred around our newly launched agitation to safeguard national sovereignty,” said Mahara. “The Indian side asked us to withdraw the agitation.”

Asked whether they have heard from New Delhi yet, Mahara said: “Although there has been no immediate response from the Indian side, we are awaiting the Indian response. We expect to hear from them.”

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2 Responses to “Carrots and sticks”

  1. Joaquin Irigoyen on Says:

    Neither India nor China and no one should interfere in the affairs of Nepal. One thing is interfering and other cooperate.

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