Nepal’s Maoist prime minister Baburam Bhattarai’s fears of a backlash over signing of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with India turned true on Saturday.
A day after inking the deal, Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), the two main opposition parties, stated that it would harm Nepal’s interests.
Nepal’s industry minister Anil Kumar Jha and Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had signed the BIPPA in New Delhi on Friday during Bhattarai’s ongoing India visit.
Bhattarai’s predecessor and Chairman of CPN (UML) Jhalanath Khanal stated that the agreement would hurt Nepal’s sovereignty and economy and threatened to launch an agitation opposing it.
“Bhattarai’s irresponsible act without consulting other parties has affected Nepal’s nationalism,” said Khanal while addressing a function in the capital on Saturday.
Speaking at a separate programme Nepali Congress vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel blamed the Prime Minister for signing the agreement at a time when Nepal is witnessing political instability.
“Maoists themselves are the main cause of instability. How can they implement the agreement which entails compensation to Indian companies due to riots?” he questioned.
Following signing of the agreement on Friday, Bhattarai had stated that he took the risk fully knowing that there will be protests against it in Nepal.
“You can’t build a nation without taking risks…and sometimes you have to gamble,” the Republica quoted him as telling a group of Nepali editors that accompanied the PM’s delegation.
Provisions in BIPPA provides grant of compensation by the host country to investors whose investments suffer losses due to war, armed conflict, national emergency, insurrection or riots.
India had been insisting on signing the BIPPA with Nepal as several major Indian investments had suffered huge losses. The present agreement will remain in force for 10 years.
Another much-awaited deal, the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement is likely to be signed during Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s proposed visit to Nepal next month.