His party chief Prachanda may have advocated cosying up to China when he was prime minister, but his one-time deputy and current Nepal prime minister Baburam Bhattarai is very clear that ties with India are his main priority.
In the Capital on his first visit as PM, Bhattarai said India’s help was vital to kickstart the economy of his impoverished nation. “We are sandwiched between China and India, both among the fastest growing economies in the world. We cannot afford to be left behind.”
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) leader sought to tone down differences with the party’s head Prachanda, known for his strong anti-India views. Though ground realities suggest differently, Bhattarai seemed confident that the murky political scenario in the country would resolve itself before the constituent assembly expires at the end of November.
Accompanied by his wife and former minister Hisila Yami he said he was determined to begin a new, improved chapter of relations with India. “Culturally and geographically, we are very close to India and nothing can change that reality,” he said.