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'Fresh look at Indo-Nepal relations needed'

world Updated: Jan 17, 2010 00:31 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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Almost a month after he publicly accused India of interfering in Nepal’s internal affairs, Nepal’s Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda on Saturday sought a fresh look at Indo-Nepal ties.

During a meeting with visiting Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna that lasted nearly 80 minutes, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chief stressed on the need to replace the 1950 friendship treaty with a new one and resolution of border disputes.

*On the other hand, Krishna expressed India’s unhappiness at the recent baseless mudslinging by the Maoist leader and his party and asked him to focus on taking the three-year-old old Comprehensive Peace Agreement to its logical conclusion.*

“Without creating a new basis it is very difficult to strengthen relations with India. Our people want a radical change in our foreign policy,” Prachanda told media persons after the meeting.

Stating that the discussions were held in a cordial environment in a frank manner he told Krishna that UCPN (M) was raising these issues as it wants a “more positive and scientific basis” for relations between both neighbours.

Prachanda stated that Krishna expressed his government’s seriousness to address all the issues. “We are ready to address these issues through discussions and have a very good relation with India,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Krishna visited Pashupatinath Temple and talked to the two Indian priests who were attacked by Maoists in September last year on the grounds of them being ‘outsiders’.

“They told me that they were protected and are comfortable. The safety of Indian pilgrims who come to the temple is our concern and the Nepal government has reassured us about the safety of the priests and pilgrims,” he said.

Later in the day Krishna held talks with President Ram Baran Yadav and chairman of the ruling Nepali Congress Girija Prasad Koirala. A trip to Birganj on the Indo-Nepal border to lay the foundation stone of an integrated check post was cancelled due to bad weather.