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India to play key role in Nepal accord

India will provide six dozen containers to lock up weapons of the Maoists and the army as per Nepal's request.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2006 16:29 IST

Though no representatives of the Indian government were present at the breakthrough meet in Kathmandu on Tuesday when the Nepal government signed a vital arms accord with the Maoist rebels, yet New Delhi is going to play a key role in the deal.

The government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has requested India to provide nearly six dozen containers, which will be used to lock up the arms of both the Maoists' People's Liberation Army and the Nepal Army.

Following the request, three days ago, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu forwarded the plea to New Delhi for action. The containers are likely to be provided by the Calcutta Port Trust, the nearest port to Nepal. Once they are procured and sent to Nepal, they would have to be fitted with special locks provided by the UN.

After being painted white, the containers will be furnished with shelves and used to store weapons. While half of them would be placed in seven cantonments and 21 satellite cantonments where the Maoist soldiers will be confined, the rest will go to the barracks of the Nepal Army.

More Indian involvement in the new developments in Nepal are expected to be announced during the visit of Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, who is arriving in Kathmandu on Wednesday on a three-day visit.

During his trip, the Indian official is scheduled to meet the Nepali Prime Minister, his deputy and Foreign Minister KP Oli, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat and top leaders of the political parties.

However, even though New Delhi has softened its stand on the Nepal Maoists, Menon will not be meeting the Maoist leaders.

Though Maoist supremo Prachanda, who in the past had an Interpol alert for his arrest, recently shared the dais with other dignitaries in the Indian capital, the Indian government does not plan to initiate any official contact with the rebels till they join the government.

First Published: Nov 29, 2006 16:29 IST