Nepal will not allow use of its territory against India | india | Hindustan Times
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Nepal will not allow use of its territory against India

Jhalanath Khanal is the chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) that leads the 22-party regime the Prachanda-led Maoists want dislodged. But in Himalayan nation’s quest for political consensus, he’s also seen as a compromise successor to Prime Minister Madhav Nepal. Khanal is visiting India. Excerpts from an interview:

india Updated: Nov 07, 2009 00:49 IST
Vinod Sharma

Jhalanath Khanal is the chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) that leads the 22-party regime the Prachanda-led Maoists want dislodged. But in Himalayan nation’s quest for political consensus, he’s also seen as a compromise successor to Prime Minister Madhav Nepal. Khanal is visiting India. Excerpts from an interview:

Did officials you met here bring up the Maoists' ‘links’ with Naxal groups in India?
Yes. I was told such linkages could jeopardise relations with the CPN (Maoist) and have a bearing on India-Nepal relations. In my view, that’ll be unfortunate. I assured my interlocutors (including ministers of home, finance and external affairs) that Nepal will not allow use of its territory against its neighbours, including India. It has been and will remain our national commitment.

Is a rapprochement possible with the Maoists to make them join your government?
We’re committed to fighting ultra-Leftism, anarchism and criminalisation. At the same time, parties need cooperative relations in the constituent assembly, the central task of which is to give the country a new constitution. To make that work, we have to complete the peace process.

Can it be done without parties that aren’t in the government — the CPN (Maoist) and Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum?
We need consensus among all political parties including the Maoists. They hold over 40 per cent seats in our assembly. Without them, there cannot be a two-thirds majority for the new constitution. It’s a compulsion (to have the Maoists on board).

Do you envisage any role for India in bringing parties together?
That’s an important question. First of all, the Nepalese people must decide their fate; political parties must agree on the agenda. Help of the international community in general and India in particular, will be very important for implementing (the agenda).

An overt Indian involvement could trigger a blowback…
Home Minister P. Chidambaram was categorical that India does not want to interfere — that we have to manage our internal affairs. That’s true and very correct. But we need goodwill, cooperation and understanding from the world generally and from India specifically.

The Maoists are organising protests to dislodge Madhav Nepal. Will they hold talks in that state of mind?
It’s unfortunate. They must think of the country where they are important stakeholders. Everybody must try. That’s the only way all of us can come together.

You are tipped as Madhav Nepal’s compromise successor….
We’re committed to fighting ultra-Leftism, anarchism and criminalisation. At the same time, parties need cooperative relations in the constituent assembly, the central task of which is to give the country a new constitution. To make that work, we have to complete the peace process.