Emotional Prachanda wants India to build rail, power projects (Lead)

September 16th, 2008 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Somnath ChatterjeeNew Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) An emotional Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ Tuesday recalled his old association with India and said New Delhi should play a major role to strengthen the democratic process and economic development in his country.Nepal, he said, looked forward to a fresh start to take India-Nepal relations to a new high.

“We want India to help Nepal in realising its hydro power potential. We would help India in fulfilling its energy requirements by providing additional hydro power,” Prachanda told a meeting of the Nepal-India Parliamentary Forum at the residence of Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav. Yadav is also chairman of the forum.

“We have set a target of generating 10,000 MW of electricity through new hydro power projects in the next 10 years. India will have to help us. We will help India in fulfilling its energy requirements,” he said.

“We want India to construct a railway line in the Terai region of Nepal that would prove instrumental in the economic transformation of the country,” the Maoist prime minister said.

The meeting was attended by senior political leaders from the Congress, Bharatiya Janata party and Communist Party of India-Marxist among others.

Prachanda said: “Three years ago the foundation of the peace process, which has transformed Nepal to a democratic country, was laid in New Delhi itself. I was leading an underground movement at the time.

“Today when I stand here and talk as prime minister of the country, I feel very emotional.

“I sometimes ask myself, is it a dream? So much has happened in such a short time. During 10 years of insurgency, I stayed in India for about eight years as an underground leader. And today I stand here as prime minister of my country which is trying a new model of peace.

“India has an important role to play in ensuring continuation of a regime of peace in Nepal.”

However, he made it clear that all bilateral agreements with India needed to be reviewed.

“We want all bilateral agreements between India and Nepal to be reviewed in light of the new international scenario,” Prachanda said.

“These treaties were signed long back but now the geo-political situation has changed.”

Prachanda, who arrived here Sunday night, said that economy could play a major role in forging ties between Nepal and India.

“We want a fresh start on every front between India and Nepal. New dynamism should be introduced in relations between the two countries,” he said.

“India has an important role to play in the economic development of Nepal.”

Those who attended the meeting included Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, BJP leader Muli Manohar Joshi, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh.

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