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Prachanda says India wrong to think he is closer to China

Refuting perceptions in India that he was closer to China, former prime minister and Maoist supremo Prachanda has said he wanted Nepal to have "good relations" with both New Delhi and Beijing.

world Updated: Aug 12, 2009 23:56 IST

Refuting perceptions in India that he was closer to China, former prime minister and Maoist supremo Prachanda has said he wanted Nepal to have "good relations" with both New Delhi and Beijing.

At the same time, Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachandra' also said India "lost its warmth" towards Maoists after they assumed power and that "foreign influence" was responsible for his failure to tackle the army chief row in Nepal.

In an interview to BBC, he said New Delhi was wrong to think that he was closer to communist China than to India.

"I wanted Nepal to have good relations with both Nepal's giant neighbours -- India and China," Prachanda, who quit as premier in May after a dispute with the President over the sacking of the army chief, said.

He said being the sole superpower, America was trying to have a greater influence in Asia, but India and China should come together to combat US power.

The 54-year-old Maoist leader, who left for Kathmandu this morning after a private visit to London, described as "entirely misleading, inflammatory and groundless," a report in the Nepalese press that he had fallen out with New Delhi and Washington because they had planned to attack China through Nepalese soil.

Turning to domestic politics, Prachanda also termed the incumbent CPN-UML-NC led coalition government as a "mockery of democracy" and "not legitimate".

"This government led by Madhav Kumar Nepal is not legitimate. It is a mockery of democracy since it comprises people defeated in elections. Only a new government will be a legitimate one," Prachanda said.

On "civilian supremacy over army", Prachandra said the matter should be allowed to be debated in Nepalese Parliament. The Maoists have launched an agitation over the issue.

"We don't want to remove the President. All we want is to discuss is whether his (President's) move was Constitutional or not. As soon as we are given an opportunity to debate in Parliament we will withdraw our agitation."

Prachanda said he is committed to the ongoing peace process and drafting of a new constitution. "This job can not be fulfilled by keeping Maoists outside."

The Maoist chief said he had tried to tackle the Army Chief row on the basis of consensus with other parties. "But the parties received some telegrams from abroad and then they changed." Asked from where it came, he said "it is an open secret", without naming India.

He said while in office he tried his level-best to stop foreign interference in Nepalese politics but "the Army chief episode showed how big is the foreign influence in Nepal."

Prachanda said India had supported the dialogue between Maoists and other political parties after King Gyanendra assumed direct power in 2005. But New Delhi "lost its warmth" towards the Maoists when elections resulted in his assumption of office of the Prime Minister in August 2008.