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Nepal maoist Deface Indian flag

world Updated: Apr 17, 2011 23:29 IST
Utpal Parashar

Continuing with their anti-India rhetoric, Maoists in Nepal, who are now part of the ruling coalition, have now turned to defacing the Indian tricolour.

Indian flags depicted in foundation stones of several projects funded by the southern neighbour have been covered with black paint by Maoist workers as part of the party's anti-India campaign.

Indian ambassador to Nepal, Rakesh Sood, has formally lodged complaints in this regard to Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal and Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'.

The latest antic follows several incidents in recent months when Maoists waved black flags at the Indian envoy on visits to rural areas in Nepal to inaugurate India-funded projects.

In a letter to Prachanda sent earlier this month, Sood said that such incidents have a negative impact on bilateral relations and India would be forced to think twice before spending on Nepal's development.

Although the PM has assured Sood that he would take up the issue with Prachanda, it appears unlikely that he would be able to make any impact since his government is dependent on Maoist support.

The matter along with other instances of anti-India activities are likely to be raised during Indian external affairs minister SM Krishna's three-day visit to Nepal starting Wednesday.

"Despite statements by senior Maoist leaders that they want good relations with us, there seems to be a consistent anti-India message in their acts," said a senior diplomat on condition of anonymity.

India spends nearly Rs 200 crore each year on small development projects like construction of schools, roads, hospitals etc. in Nepal. In recent years 176 such projects have been completed and more than 200 others are underway.

The southern neighbour has also funded several big projects like construction of a sizeable section of the East-West Highway popular as Mahendra Rajmarg and 22 bridges on it.

"We are committed to helping in Nepal's development, but such incidents make it difficult to continue our projects," he said.

New Delhi feels that Maoists anti-India rhetoric started in December 2009 when the party after having failed at attempts to regain power started blaming India for most ills besieging Nepal.