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Nepal on edge, India worried

India was "seriously concerned" as the spiral of violence once again threatened to engulf Nepal after the Maoist insurgents withdrew their cease-fire on Monday and said that they would "go on the offensive" against the Royal Nepal Army.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2006 02:16 IST

India was "seriously concerned" as the spiral of violence once again threatened to engulf Nepal after the Maoist insurgents withdrew their cease-fire on Monday and said that they would "go on the offensive" against the Royal Nepal Army.

Announcing the end of a four-month long truce, Maoist chief Prachanda said he was forced to do so since the government did not reciprocate to their four-month-long cease-fire. A unilateral cease-fire was announced by the rebels on September 3, 2005, for three months. In December, they extended it by one more month, but the truce expired on Monday night.

While Nepal seems to be on the verge of a bloody year, India, which has high stakes in maintaining peace in the Himalayan kingdom, finds itself in an awkward situation.

It cannot assist the RNA with "lethal" weapons because of King Gyanendra's decision to assume absolute power in February 2005, nor can it allow the Maoists to take control. "Having placed all its eggs in the democracy basket, there is no Plan B for India," said an analyst.

India has called the withdrawal of cease-fire by the Maoists as "unfortunate", and urged the insurgents to shun violence and work for a political settlement, but it is unlikely the Maoists will heed the request. "This is an unfortunate decision," said external affairs ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna, hours after Prachanda made the announcement.

"We have consistently called upon the Maoists to shun violence, accept the discipline of multi-party democracy and work for a political settlement that contributes to the political stability and economic prosperity of Nepal," said Sarna.

First Published: Jan 03, 2006 02:16 IST