Cutting short his visit to India, Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, KP Sharma Oli, is returning on Wednesday to Kathmandu, where talks between the Maoist leadership and the seven-party alliance government are critically poised. According to his original schedule, Oli was due to travel to Thiruvananthapuram and Kolkata from New Delhi, before returning to Nepal on Saturday.
According to a political analyst, the talks in Kathmandu, though nearing a settlement, with both sides agreeing on how to manage the Maoist armaments, are deadlocked on the issue of the future of the monarchy and the exact quantum of seats to be allocated to the Maoists in government.
Oli, a member of the Communist Party of Nepal (UML), is considered crucial to help break the impasse.
Delivering the Dinesh Singh Memorial Lecture at the Indian Council of World Affairs on Tuesday, Oli was mildly critical of the Maoist role so far, saying they have not halted their violent activities yet.
“The Maoists are still carrying out the policy of unabated extortion, intimidation and extortion, activities that pose obstacles to the ongoing peace process, but as we all know the talks are in the final stage of positive conclusion.” “Success of the peace process,” Oli said, “will critically depend on the positive deed and demeanour of the Maoist leaders and their commitment to be a peaceful political force.”
In the printed invitation card, issued by ICWA, Oli was scheduled to speak on the subject.
“Recent Developments in Nepal: Foreign Policy Implications.” Instead, today, Oli spoke on the them of “Working together for Shared Peace and Prosperity,” a definite shift, indicative that his government was close to an agreement.
“Successful resolution of Maoist conflict in Nepal through peaceful means will have a salutary impact on regional peace and security,” he said.
Reflecting the SPA government’s new pragmatic approach towards neighbouring India, Oli said, “Nepal can benefit from a rapidly growing India in terms of expanded markets, increased Indian tourist arrivals, enhanced jobs and scaled up technology transfer.” Significantly, as sharing water resources has been a sticky issue in the past, Oli said, “The two countries can benefit enormously by harnessing the abundant water resources of Nepal to meet the rising energy needs of India to fuel its rapid economic growth.”
“The best way to proceed,” he said, “would be to begin addressing political issues and to promote regional economic integration simultaneously, without making one a precondition for the other.”