Plot to turn Nepal into another Afghanistan, Iraq: Prachanda

Kathmandu: Maoists supremo Prachanda has rubbished claims that the former Nepal rebels were providing arms and training to Indian Naxalites, saying such are part of plot to turn the country into another Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prachanda, the Chairman of Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, dismissed allegation that his party has been imparting training to the Indian Naxalites in Nepal, the Kantipur online reported today.

The 56-year-old former prime minister was quoted as saying that the rumours were spread as part of plot to turn Nepal into another Afghanistan and Iraq. He said claims that Maoists were providing arms and training to Indian Naxalites was an "out an out lie" and his party is not involved in such things.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala last week confirmed the receipt of a letter from Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood in which he expressed concern over Maoists providing arms and training to Naxalites in India, the media reported here.

Sood had handed over separate letters to Nepal Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary in late October, expressing India's concern, it said quoting Indian embassy sources. Describing it as a "serious matter" if is was true, Koirala had told PTI that the government will investigate the matter.

According to the last week's report in The Kathmandu Post, some 200 Naxalites from India have taken part in training being provided by Nepalese Maoists in different districts of Terai, including Nawalparasi, Dang, Udaypur and Makwanpur.

Prachanda, known for his anti-India rhetoric, has frequently accused India of "naked interference" in Nepal and dictating to its leaders.

The Maoist party has demanded the revision of the landmark 1950 Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty and resolving Kalapani and Susta border disputes between the two countries.

Last week, Prachanda said his party wants to "turn over a new leaf" in ties with New Delhi. The Maoists chief, who has returned from Beijing last month, said he was advised by Chinese leaders to improve relations with India.

"We want to positively and constructively engage with India to address these issues, we want to turn over a new leaf in our relations," he told the Kathmandu Post daily.

Maoists, who joined mainstream politics in 2006 after a decade-long insurgency, won the maximum seats in 2008 elections and briefly led the government before Prachanda quit as premier following differences with the country's President over the sacking of the then army chief. The Nepal Army has denied claims by the Maoists that the military had submitted reports about the former rebels providing training to Indian Naxalites under the instruction of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

The allegation was totally false and baseless, Army spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ramindra Chheri told PTI. The army’s reaction comes in the wake of the Maoists? allegation that Nepal Army, India and the caretaker government have hatched conspiracy to defame the former rebels. There is no truth in such allegations, its completely baseless propaganda, Chheri said.

The army has also raised the issue during a key defence meeting today. "We have raised the issue during Thursday’s meeting of the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee (JMCC)," the spokesperson said.

The JMCC is a body of representatives from the Nepal Army, former Maoists guerrilla force, People?s Liberation Army and the United Nations tasked to monitor the activities of the ex-combatants.

"We have clearly presented our views during the JMCC meeting that the allegation was completely false and baseless," he said.