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India refuses to be dragged into govt. formation tussle in Nepal

world Updated: Jan 18, 2011 14:56 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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Media speculations notwithstanding, India refuses to be dragged into the fresh tussle over formation of the next government in Nepal.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao who arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday on a three-day visit at a crucial phase in Nepali politics and peace process indicated the same.

"I am not here to comment on the internal affairs of Nepal," she told media persons soon after her arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport.

Rao stated India is committed to working with the political leadership here for a democratic, stable, peaceful and prosperous Nepal.

During her stay the Foreign Secretary would hold discussions to review "entire gamut" of bilateral relations and deliberate on issues of mutual interest to expand and strengthen ties.

"Relations with Nepal are and will continue to be matter of highest priority for India," Rao said.

The visit comes three day after exit of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which was monitoring 19,000 Maoists combatants and their arms.

Despite a three-point agreement between Maoists and government, the fate of rehabilitation and integration of the combatants—an important issue for conclusion of the peace process--remains uncertain.

With President Ram Baran Yadav setting a January 21 deadline for selection of the next prime minister through consensus, a fresh process to form the next government has also begun.

Nepal has been without an effective government since June 2010 when Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned.

The stalled peace process and delay in government formation is affecting drafting of the new constitution within the May 28, 2011 deadline.

On Tuesday, Rao will hold talks with her counterpart Madan P. Bhattarai and meet President Ram Baran Yadav, caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Constituent Assembly Chairman Subhash Nemwang.

Meetings with political leaders like Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Communist Party of Nepal (UML) chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala are scheduled for Wednesday.

Rao would also meet Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala and Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachchadhar before departing on Thursday afternoon.

"It is going to be a useful and productive visit and I hope to gain a deeper and profound understanding of Nepal," she said.