Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” is facing criticism over the joint communiqué issued during his visit to India, with some accusing him of surrendering Kathmandu’s foreign policy to New Delhi.
Besides his own Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre, Prachanda has been criticised by the main opposition CPN-UML and former premier Baburam Bhattarai, who was his deputy during the decade-long Maoist insurgency.
During a meeting of the CPN-MC to review his India visit, some leaders accused Prachanda of “surrendering” Nepal’s foreign policy to India and putting the government and the Indian embassy on an “equal footing”, sources said.
The leaders expressed reservations over two points in the communiqué. One point states the prime ministers of India and Nepal believe both countries hold similar views on major international issues, including reforms of the UN and other global organisations, which affect developing countries and that they would work in close coordination at the UN and other international forums.
Another point stated the two premiers had directed officials from both sides to form an oversight mechanism to review ongoing India-funded projects and to take steps to expedite their implementation.
Following the criticism, the foreign ministry defended the communiqué, saying it was normal practice for Nepal to share the same position as India and China at international forums. Nepal’s support for India’s bid to join the UN Security Council was declared in 2014, it said.
Prachanda’s deputy Narayan Kaji Shrestha and some Maoist leaders criticised the premier for being “over-confident” with India and said New Delhi’s policies towards the country had not changed.
The CPN-UML accused Prachanda of inviting “foreign intervention” in Nepal and criticised him for holding “unnecessary” discussions with India on issues such as amending the Constitution.
“Some of the points of the joint statement made Nepal’s foreign policy dependent on India…The party has put its strong reservations over the attack on Nepal’s independent foreign policy,” said a statement issued by the CPN-UML.
Bhattarai accused Prachanda of making several “serious” mistakes while agreeing to the contents of the joint statement.