No comparison between India and China: Prachanda

Updated on Sep 15, 2008 07:43 PM IST

Nepal's Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal uderlines that Kathmandu's ties with New Delhi are in a different league to those with Beijing.

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IANS | By, New Delhi

Amid speculation that Nepal was tilting towards China under the new regime, its Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" on Monday underlined that Kathmandu's ties with New Delhi are in a different league to those with Beijing.

Prachanda met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and discussed a wide array of bilateral issues, including the expansion of economic and energy ties and the need to modernize ties between the two countries.

They also discussed the issue of water management and floods in common rivers that have wrought massive havoc in both countries. Prachanda also stressed on concrete steps to bolster water management the need for big projects in this area.

India is likely to announce a hefty flood assistance package for Nepal on Tuesday.

The 54-year-old Maoist leader also met President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and shared with them his perspectives on further strengthening bilateral relations.

Earlier, addressing a business conclave here, Prachanda said, "Relationship with India is cordial and vital.

"There is no question of comparison between India and China," he said when asked what kind of relationship Nepal would like to have with the two neighbouring nations.

Prachanda's visit to Beijing to attend the closing ceremonies of the Olympics last month had sparked anxieties among some sections of the establishment in India that Nepal was inching closer to China.

In a bid to allay these concerns in India, the powers-that-be in Kathmandu went on a damage-control exercise with Nepal's Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav saying no power on earth can upset relations between New Delhi and Kathmandu.

Prachanda said, "Nepal and India have been enjoying excellent relationship since time immemorial. Our age-old ties and geography have bound us together.

"Thus, what we need is to utilise our exemplary relations and open up multiple avenues of cooperation in the economic front that would accrue benefits to both nations. And this is the right time for it," he said.

Saying that Nepal wished to grow and prosper along with India, Prachanda said business was an engine of growth, and invited Indian corporate houses to invest in Nepal in key sectors like hydropower and infrastructure.

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