Nepal crackdown worries India
India has expressed "grave concern" over the arrest in Nepal of about 200 leaders of major political parties on the eve of a mass anti-king rally scheduled in Kathmandu for Friday. Sources confirmed that even phone lines to Nepali Congress chief G.P. Koirala had been disconnected.
Though gradually losing hope of "getting through to the king" (Gyanendra), India has "clearly conveyed" the message that the monarchy’s interests will be undermined if initiatives were not taken for the early restoration of multi-party democracy.
Responding to queries on the situation in Nepal, MEA spokesman Navtej Sarna said, "These actions of His Majesty's Government are regrettable and a matter of grave concern to all those who wish to see the constitutional forces in Nepal working together to achieve peace and stability in the country."
But a year after the king assumed absolute power, a "major gain", sources said, has been that the international coalition comprising India, the US, UK and EU has "stayed together" in not supplying arms to the Royal Nepal Army and in "advising" Gyanendra to restore multi-party democracy.
The Indian envoy to Kathmandu, Shiv Shanker Mukherjee, in New Delhi for consultations, has briefed Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran about the rapidly changing situation in Nepal since the Maoists called off their cease-fire on January 2. He is likely to meet the PM.
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