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India urges caution, consensus-building in Nepal

By BS Reporter
May 05, 2009 03:16 IST
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India has urged caution and consensus-building among Nepal's political parties so that the nation does not get further sucked into political uncertainty due to the events in the past few days, with the latest being the resignation of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) after President Ram Baran Yadav asked Army chief General R Katawal to stay on despite Prachanda's move to replace General Katawal. India wants both sides to step back from the brink and not precipitate the crisis.

A top government official has said that the Maoists are trying to achieve a "monopoly over violence" by controlling the army and by seeking to replace the army chief with someone who is pliable to their agenda, especially with regard to integration of Maoists combatants into the regular army.

In a statement, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, "We wish Nepal well in its transition to a fully democratic polity and would hope that the present crisis is resolved in a manner which contributes to the early conclusion of the peace process. We would hope that the broadest possible political consensus would make it possible for Nepal to concentrate on the agreed tasks of Constitution making and of democratic transition."

The Indian government is of the view that the Maoists must instead reach out to the other political parties, especially allies such as the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), who distanced themselves from the coalition government over the sacking of the army chief.

The government official added that Prachanda has taken the extreme step to fire the army chief due to "inner party pressure." This is indicative of how the Maoists are grappling to transition from an insurgent group to a democratic political party. In this scenario, the Indian stand is that Prachanda's government must only take decisions based on consensus as it is only an interim government until the new Constitution is drafted.

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Source: source