New Indian ambassador assumes office in Nepal

August 26th, 2011 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Aug 26 (IANS) The new Indian ambassador to Nepal, Jayant Prasad, assumed office Friday after presenting his credentials to the head of state, President Ram Baran Yadav.

The new envoy has been in the spotlight even before his arrival in Kathmandu Thursday with comparisons being drawn between him and his predecessor Rakesh Sood, whose tenure drew the ire of the Maoists, the largest party in Nepal.

Maoist protests during Sood’s official programmes outside Kathmandu valley made New Delhi summon the then Nepali ambassador to India and lodge a formal protest.

Prasad said it would be his constant endeavour to “nurture a strong, productive and mutually beneficial relationship” between India and Nepal.

“There is no bilateral relationship for India of such a multi-faceted nature,” the new Indian envoy said.

“Our leaders attach the highest importance to this relationship. Our progress and prosperity are intertwined.”

Observing that India and Nepal share the same challenges, of peace, of stability, of national integration, and of bringing the fruits of development to their peoples, Prasad said Nepal’s success in meeting these challenges would be, equally, India’s success.

Prasad is the son of former Indian ambassador to Nepal Bimal Prasad (1991-1995) who was appointed by then prime minister Chandrashekhar.

Prasad’s tenure starts with witnessing an election Sunday with the Maoists and Nepali Congress, the second largest party in parliament, duelling for the post of the 35th prime minister of Nepal.

On Friday, Maoist candidate Baburam Bhattarai and Nepali Congress nominee Ram Chandra Poudel formally filed their nominations.

Both sides are claiming they should lead the new government. However, the Maoists’ unveiling of a plan to disband within 45 days their guerrilla army, whose presence remains the main stumbling block to the peace process, has been dismissed by the communists, the third largest party that is being wooed by both the contestants.

The communists, whose government fell this month due to their allies, the Maoists, letting them down over the discharge of the guerrilla army, said there was no ground to trust the former rebels.

With the communists now likely to return to their old ally, the Nepali Congress, the Maoists are hoping they would be able to get majority vote in the 601-seat parliament Sunday with the support of the ethnic parties from the Terai plains.

Prasad would also see a crisis Aug 31 when the time given to the parties to promulgate a new constitution runs out after three deadline extensions.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at sudeshna.s@ians.in)

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