Nepal PM not to discuss `problems` in India

India-educated Bhattarai expressed confidence that his four-day maiden visit will pave the way for "warmer relations" between the Unified CPN-Maoist and the establishment in the neighbouring country.

Last Updated: Oct 19, 2011, 15:43 PM IST

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai
on Wednesday spoke about "certain misunderstandings, misgivings and
problems" in Nepal`s relations with India but said he will not
be discussing these during his visit to New Delhi beginning
tomorrow.

India-educated Bhattarai expressed confidence that his
four-day maiden visit will pave the way for "warmer relations"
between the Unified CPN-Maoist and the establishment in the
neighbouring country.

Rejecting the view that there were "bitter relations"
between India and his party at present, 57-year-old Bhattarai,
the Maoist Vice President and ideologue, said "our relations
are already warming up and will become warmer after the
visit."

"The dispute within the Maoist party won`t be a problem
in fostering relations with India," he said in an
interview. "There can be dispute and discussion within the
party and we have managed it well."

On Indo-Nepal ties, the Prime Minister said "there are
certain misunderstandings, misgivings and problems in our
relations in the history. When you have closer relations there
are chances of having frictions also, this is the law."

"There is a need to resolve certain issues left (over) by
history. There is a need for free and frank discussion to
resolve them. So, I don`t like to take on disputed issues this
time," he said, without elaborating.

His comments came a day after the Maoist party headed by
ex-premier Prachanda, who is perceived to have an anti-India
bias, said that only economic issues will be discussed during
Bhattarai`s visit, which will not touch potential "irritants"
like an extradition pact and review of the 1950 Indo-Nepal
Peace and Friendship Treaty.

Bhattarai said he will focus on two major areas during
the high-level talks in Delhi -- political and security
related issues between the two countries and economic
cooperation and development.

"My focus will be to foster partnership with India," he
said. "The new paradigm of Indo-Nepal relations will be to
foster development partnership between the two countries."

On bilateral disputes, the Prime Minister said that
authorities from both sides should sit down and work out a
mutually agreeable formula.

"At this time, we will take up those issues where there
is agreement than those with disagreement," he said.

"As this is basically a goodwill visit, there is no fixed
agenda and there will be free and frank exchange of opinions
on the entire gamut of Nepal-India relations," he pointed out.

When asked what he expects from policymakers in New Delhi
during his visit, Bhattarai said "I am confident that
government and people of India will extend their cooperation
for peace and democracy in Nepal."

He dismissed the view that the rift is growing within the
Maoist party at the moment. "It is a misconception that the
rift is growing. In fact, the gap is going down."

On whether growing differences between the coalition
government and opposition parties will affect the peace
process, the Prime Minister said "we have been constantly in
dialogue with the major political parties on the contentious
issues."

"Our differences have narrowed down and soon there will
be an agreement on both fronts: the peace process and the
Constitution-writing process," he said.

Bhattarai said that a draft Constitution will be ready by
the end of November.

"I think that the draft Constitution will be ready by the
end of November and then we will need an extension of the
Constituent Assembly for several months," Bhattarai said.

He voiced confidence that there will be very soon a
breakthrough in the peace process, which was initiated in 2006
after the Maoists joined mainstream politics following a
decade-long insurgency.

An agreement will be reached among the parties for
integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants and
then the process of regrouping will start, Bhattarai said,
adding "that will speed up the process."

"Once the peace process moves forward there will be
breakthrough and I am sure that the Nepali Congress and the
CPN-UML will also join the coalition government," he said in
response to a question.

Asked whether there is a possibility of forming a
government led by Nepali Congress or CPN-UML for holding
Parliamentary elections, he said "various options can be
discussed, we are open for all options provided the peace
process moves forward and the Constitution making process
completes on time."

On differences within the Maoist party, Bhattarai said:
Now monarchy has gone. There can be dispute and discussion
within the party and we have managed it well so far. We`ll
succeed to manage in the near future also."

PTI