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Nepal Maoists want good ties with India

delhi Updated: Apr 22, 2008 11:12 IST
IANS
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Nepal's Maoists, all set to take power in the Himalayan nation, favour good relations with India, an Indian writer who has close ties with the former guerrillas has said.

Anand Swarup Verma, who writes extensively on the Maoists, also quoted their leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda as saying that Nepal needed India on its side to better the lot of its impoverished people.

"Prachanda is confident that relations between India and Nepal will be on the right path under Maoist rule," Verma quoted the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist as telling him on telephone from Kathmandu.

"Prachanda's worry is mostly about the US," which continues to classify the Maoists as terrorists, Verma said.

Prachanda, who is likely to become the first Maoist to rule Nepal, was also "very happy" with the conversation he had with Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee last week, Verma told IANS.

"Prachanda said that his talks with Mukherjee were very positive."

Verma, 64, is the author of "Rolpa to Dolpa", a book in Hindi that is widely seen as one of the most comprehensive account of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal that raged for a decade from 1996.

In that capacity, Verma travels extensively to Nepal and interacts closely with political leaders there. He interviewed Prachanda this month and spoke to him again on phone on Friday.

"Prachanda told me that Nepal will always be equidistant between China and India," Verma said. "He admits that culturally we are very close to India but he feels that India has often bullied Nepal."

According to Verma, India has to take a sympathetic view of Maoist complaints about the 1950 India-Nepal treaty. Many in Nepal feel that the pact is unfair to their country.

"The grievances about the treaty should be seen in the right perspective," he said. "India needs to take a positive attitude.

"The Maoists keep saying - and Prachanda also told me - that they want good relations with India. They want economic engagement with India. They feel upset when India talks about 'special relations' with Nepal. They feel this smacks of some kind of subservience expected of Nepal. They don't like this."

Asked how and why the Maoists, despite years of war, managed to take to parliamentary democracy, Verma said: "They had ideological firmness but they showed tactical flexibility. This is what differentiates them from other so-called revolutionary forces."

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