India concerned over Maoist doublespeak in Nepal
Stung by Nepal's Maoist caretaker PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda's allegation that India bumbled in its Nepal policy by failing to rush a high-level envoy to defuse the row over the army chief, sources on Monday said "India cannot be blamed for everything that happens in Nepal".world Updated: May 11, 2009 18:13 IST
India is blaming the growing gap between the Maoists' words and action, saying it caused the former guerrillas' own allies and major political parties to distrust them, and which precipitated the fall of the Prachanda government in Nepal last week.
Stung by Nepal's Maoist caretaker Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda's allegation that India bumbled in its Nepal policy by failing to rush a high-level envoy to defuse the row over the army chief, knowledgeable sources Monday said "India cannot be blamed for everything that happens in Nepal".
India's The Hindu daily Monday carried a report in which the Maoist supremo said he had sought the presence of a senior envoy in Kathmandu to help "forge an eleventh hour political consensus" after his party was at loggerheads with its own allies over its wish to fire the chief of the Nepal Army, Gen Rookmangud Katawal.
Prachanda told the daily he had asked for the presence of Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon in Nepal for consultations but it was not heeded as India remained preoccupied with general elections.
According to these sources, Prachanda had had direct talks with the "highest authorities" in the Indian government and was asked not to precipitate a crisis. However, he chose to ignore the advice, though it was reinforced by other foreign governments, including Nepal's northern neighbour China, and all other major Nepali parties, including his own allies.
Also, the request to India for an envoy came after his party had fired the army chief and whipped up the row, a fact that he has glossed over.
New Delhi is disturbed by the appearance of a video tape in which Prachanda contradicts his public commitment to peace, says he grossly exaggerated the number of people in his army to the UN and would continue to buy arms even after signing a peace pact.
Though Prachanda tried to downplay the incident by saying the tape was made before the election in April 2008, India has taken note of the fact that his assertions came after his troops were verified by the UN, more than a year after he signed the peace pact.
Also, during his trip to New York to attend the UN General Assembly last year and in his meetings with UN officials as well as foreign envoys, Prachanda had admitted that it would be impossible to induct the nearly 19,000-strong Maoist army into the Nepal Army.
He had said that while about 4,000 guerrilla fighters could make it to the state army, the rest would have to be rehabilitated.
However, he made totally different promises to the combatants, promising all of them would get into the army.
New Delhi feels it indicates that either he is not in control or is fooling people intentionally.
Prachanda's doublespeak on India has also irked New Delhi. While saying he wants good relations with both India and China, Prachanda has allowed his party to step up anti-India propaganda, making New Delhi disbelieve his sincerity.
India is also not happy about the Maoists' threat to disrupt parliament and feels it would not get them any sympathy.
First Published: May 11, 2009 18:09 IST