Prachanda not to ink new pacts during India visit

September 12th, 2008 - 2:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghKathmandu, Sep 12 (IANS) Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s maiden political visit to India Sunday marks a new chapter in India-Nepal ties, but the former revolutionary will not ink any new pacts.The new Maoist-led coalition government of Nepal is an interim government whose mandate is to draft a new constitution within two years.

Any new bilateral pact signed by it could prove controversial. India, too, has indicated it would regard the five-day visit as a “political” one during which it would listen to Prachanda’s perspectives as well as indicate its own.

Nepal’s major parties, including the Maoists, the communists and the opposition, have advised the former revolutionary to give priority to the devastation caused by the Saptakosi river.

Prachanda has been asked to seek compensation due to the flooding caused by the breach of the Kosi embankment since - as per the Kosi treaty in 1954 - India is responsible for the repair of the embankment and other structures on the river.

Nepal is looking at a compensation package that will include the rehabilitation of the over 100,000 people left homeless in Nepal by the flood, the repair of the damaged embankment spurs and the rebuilding of infrastructure destroyed by the deluge.

As long-term measures, he has also been asked to prepare the ground for the review if not abrogation of the Kosi treaty as well as the controversial Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950.

Two other controversial water treaties, the Mahakali Pact and Gandak Treaty, should also be reviewed and Prachanda should raise the issue of 11 unilateral embankments built by India along the India-Nepal border, the 10 major parties have said.

In addition, the Maoist leader, who promised an economic revolution in the annual policies and programme of his government this week, has been asked to press for the easy access of Nepali goods to India, easing of quarantine and tax procedures and improved fuel supplies.

Prachanda would be accompanied by four ministers: Information and Communications Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Commerce and Supplies Minister Rajendra Mahato, Water Resources Minister Bishnu Poudel and Foreign Affairs Minister Upendra Yadav.

Besides meeting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Prachanda is also scheduled to hold talks with Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani.

The Maoist chief, who is looking for greater foreign investment, will address a programme organised by industry lobbies Confederation of Indian Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Association of Chambers of Commerce.

The five-day visit will also see Prachanda visiting India’s IT hub Bangalore, where he is scheduled to be taken to the Infosys office.

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