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India offers Royal treatment to Koirala-India trying to improve relations with Nepali Congress (News Analysis)


KATHMANDU: All the leaders, who have reached to India at the Invitation of Indian Government, have been reiterating that their India visit was very much fruitful and the visit contributed to strengthen relations between both the countries but the treatment given by Indian authorities to visiting Nepali leaders has proved that India has been providing differential treatment to different leaders.

The priority given by India to the visit of President of Nepali Congress Sushil Koirala has proved that India is ready to change its policies regarding Nepal in the changed political context after six years or the signing of 12-point pact that formally ended the decade long armed insurgency of the country and the agreement has also paved the way for republic set-up in the country.

Koirala’s visit is the fourth in a row. Prachanda was not able to meet chairperson of Congress Sonia Gandhi, while Sher Bahadur Deuba and Madhav Kumar Nepal got the opportunity to interact with Sonia. However, the Indian government offered royal treatment to Koirala’s visit.

Unlike three former Prime Ministers, Koirala was taken to cremation centre of Gandhi in Rajghat. Only very few high level visitors are taken to that area, which is the message that India has given top priority to Koirala’s visit. Koirala received very warm welcome from India despite efforts from Indian Embassy in Kathmandu to portray him as anti-Indian leader.

During his meeting with Koirala Sonia Gandhi suggested for determining federal states based on Economic viability, which is a clear indication that the issue of One Madhesh One Province is not relevant. Koirala has however said that Nepali Congress will go for federalism based on identity and probability.

Although Indian Ambassador to Nepal Jayanta Prasad and Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala do not have good relations, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informed that the historical relations between Indian Government and Nepali Congress is still relevant and expressed his view that Koirala should lead the country during this difficult transitional period. Similarly, Chairperson of opposition party Indian People’s Party Rajnath Singh urged Koirala to make the country as Hindu country. Singh has been terming India’s Nepal Policy as failure during last seven years, which is his dissatisfaction over the working modality of different political parties including Nepali Congress and UCPN-Maoist. Although Koirala did not comment about the issue, he has been facing pressure to review the party’s stance on the issue of constitutional monarchy and secularism from senior leaders of the party like Kul Bahadur Gurung, Laxman Ghimire and Shasank Koirala. Unlike other Nepali leaders Koirala also raised the issue of inundation in Nepali land due to dam constructed by India and urged the Indian government to address the issue.

Indian leaders might have realized that their previous analysis of working with UCPN-Maoist was not correct. The 12-point pact has created a major shift in the Nepali in India’s relations with Nepali Congress. Some influential leaders of Nepali Congress left the party and formed a separate party as part of India’s policy to create distance from Nepali Congress. India supported Dr. Baburam Bhattarai led government and during his greeting message to Bhattarai Indian Prime Minister has expressed his confidence that Nepali people will get new constitution during the tenure of Dr. Bhattarai. However Bhattarai failed to fulfill Indian aspiration and most of the leaders of Madhesh, to whom India has confidence, have been recognized as corrupt ones. In this context, India realized that their relation with Nepali Congress is not irrelevant. India also explored the potential of maintaining relations with Nepali Congress without maintaining relations with Koirala but of late it seems that India left the attempt by providing cordial treatment to Koirala. It seems that India wanted to maintain cordial relations with Nepali Congress as it is expected that NC will garner more seats in the elections of the constituent assembly. If royalist party Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPP-Nepal) also holds sizable position in the CA then the coordination between NC and RPP-Nepal is not impossible. However in the last six years Nepali Congress has left the reconciliation policy adopted by BP Koirala and following the footsteps of UCPN-Maoist. India has reached to the conclusion that UCPN-Maoist is not their credible friend and trying to maintain good relations with Nepali Congress so that it could have influence in the national politics in the days to come. The cordial treatment to NC President Koirala is an attempt in this regard. However unity among senior leaders of the party is a must to receive benefit from the changed stance of Indian government.

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Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point
Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point
Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point