Prachanda, Manmohan to meet on Wednesday

November 10th, 2008 - 4:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Nov 10 (IANS) Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda will hold bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New Delhi Wednesday.It will be the former revolutionary’s second official visit to the Indian capital, following his maiden formal trip in September after assuming office.

Prachanda is going to India on a three-day visit Wednesday to attend the second BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Summit that will kick off Thursday. The grouping comprises India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar and Thailand.

After the first honeymoon trip, the Nepali prime minister is likely to face misgivings in New Delhi this time following his government’s inability to take the fragile peace process further.

The key issue of the rehabilitation of the over 19,000 fighters of the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army has remained deadlocked even three months after the formation of the Maoist government.

The main opposition party, former premier Girija Prasad Koirala’s Nepali Congress, has refused to join the committee formed for the rehabilitation and the government can’t go ahead without it for fear of losing credibility in the eyes of the international community.

The opposition party has warned that the government should fulfil its nine demands, including revamping the committee, by Monday or face a paralysing movement.

So far, the Prachanda government has ruled out reshuffling the committee but pressure is piling up on the Maoist chief to concede.

A new trouble erupted this week with the opposition accusing the Maoists of sheltering a guerrilla combatant who is wanted for the murder of a local businessmen.

Though police say they can’t find the absconding Kali Bahadur Magar, media reports said the fugitive had secretly met Maoist Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’.

The controversy prompted Nepal’s interim parliament Sunday to ask the minister for an explanation, when he rejected the reports as false.

Prachanda is also facing growing demands in Nepal to take up border encroachment issues with India, proceed with the scrapping of the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty with India and seek compensation from India for the ravages inflicted by the Kosi river in south Nepal in August.

The disaster is attributed to the delay by Indian authorities in repairing the embankment on the turbulent river.

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