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Won’t sign any pact with India against national interest: Prachanda

Ahead of his state visit, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is under pressure from various quarters not to sign any agreement with India that will have long-term consequences.

world Updated: Sep 11, 2016 20:50 IST
HT Correspondent
Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, walks before addressing parliament in Kathmandu on September 8.
Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, walks before addressing parliament in Kathmandu on September 8.(AFP)

Ahead of his four-day India visit beginning September 15, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is under pressure from various quarters not to sign any agreement that will have long-term consequences.

For his part, Prachanda said on Sunday that he understood the nerve and pulse of the nation and would not take risks at the cost of national interest. Therefore, he said, there was no need to tie his legs from any side regarding the visit.

Prachanda is under scrutiny from civil society to political parties and media, with main opposition CPN-UML on Sunday submitting a six- point memorandum asking him to take concrete steps on the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty. The party asked him to take a strong position when completing negotiations on extradition treaty and mutual legal assistance, as also to seek a fair share in implementation of the treaty on integrated development of the Mahakali river.

The opposition insisted that the Kathmandu-Tarai Track road be built on Nepal’s own resources and not using Indian assistance.

Prachanda told the parliament committee on international relations and labour that the visit was a challenging opportunity for him, and expressed hope it would add a new chapter to bilateral relations.

“I'm confident that the visit would not only normalise the relations that experienced some bitterness in the past, but also build a strong foundation for mutual trust,” he said.

He made it clear to the panel that he would not be signing any new pacts but will review agreements and projects signed in the past with India.

The prime minister informed the lawmakers he would seek additional financial support for earthquake victims as well as expedite agreements on power purchase, postal roads and open skies.

Dahal said he was scheduled to meet Nepalis in India, attend a reception at Nepali Embassy in India and hold an interaction with foreign dignitaries on September 15.

He will visit a hydropower project in Himachal Pradesh and hold interactions with intellectuals in New Delhi. He is also scheduled to visit a factory of Patanjali Yogpeeth run by Baba Ramdev on September 18.

Lawmakers suggested Dahal to raise issues like controlling criminal activities in the border areas, addressing problems caused to Nepalis by Indian border security forces, as well as controlling smuggling of Nepali migrant workers to third countries via India.