Nepal puts off security talks with India
KATHMANDU: Nepal has indefinitely put off bilateral security talks with Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram, scheduled to have been held in New
Delhi from Tuesday. Nepal’s home ministry cancelled Home Minister Bhim Rawal’s three-day visit to India citing Nepal’s “internal conditions”.
The political situation in Nepal is fluid with the countdown to a new Maoist protest having started again. The former guerrillas have given the coalition government
of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal till Friday to concede their demand against the President, Dr Ram Baran Yadav, or face more turmoil. The former rebels
want the president to admit he was wrong to reinstate the army chief the Maoist government had sacked earlier this year or to have a debate on the presidential
step in parliament. Their street protests, launched from this month in a bid to paralyse the government machinery nationwide, ended on Friday.
As the embattled prime minister began consultations with the two major parties in his ruling alliance, the Nepali Congress (NC) and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum
(Democratic), Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda headed for Singapore Monday in a surprise decision. Prachanda is expected to hold consultations
with NC chief Girija Prasad Koirala, who is currently receiving medical treatment in Singapore.
As the bilateral security talks were postponed, a section of the Nepali media speculated that it was done to avoid possible Indian pressure on Rawal in New Delhi
to get his government sign the updated extradition treaty that India has been pursuing for nearly four years now. The treaty did not progress during the talks
between the home secretaries of both countries in Kathmandu this month due to opposition by the Maoists.
There was also a report in a leading Nepali daily Monday that India’s border patrolling forces, the Sashastra Seema Bal, had urged the Manmohan Singh government
to fence the open border between India and Nepal in order to crack down on cross-border terrorism and other crimes. Nepal and India share an 1800km open
However, Nepal’s home ministry said it was not aware of any such proposal. Home ministry spokesman Jai Mukund Khanal said such a proposal had not featured
in the discussions between the two home secretaries.
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