I'm not pro-China: Nepal’s Prachanda
Kathmandu: Nepal's Maoist supremo Prachanda has rejected tags that he is pro-China, saying he was against inclining towards his country's one or the other powerful neighbours.
"I am not pro-China. It is wrong to label me pro-China simply because I was supposed to attend the meeting of the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation for the development of Lumbini," he said last night at Tribhuvan International Airport prior to his departure to Malaysia.
He will attend in Malaysia the meeting of Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation, scheduled to kick off today.
Prachanda is one of the 10 co-chairmen of the Hong Kong-based Foundation, which had signed a MoU with United Nations International Development Organisation (UNIDO) for bringing a USD 3 billion project to convert Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha on the Nepal-India border, into a "Mecca for Buddhists".
"India has also launched so many projects in Nepal. I had proposed to construct east-west railway line in Nepal during my Prime Ministership... It would be wrong to label me as pro-India on that basis," he said.
Nepal, due to its geopolitical position, needs to maintain equidistance while developing friendly relations with both of its neighbours, the Maoist chief said.
"I am against inclining towards one or the other neighbour politically," he added.
Prachanda said he has initiated talks to bring international aid to develop Lumbini as Mecca for Buddhists.
"This will not only develop Lumbini, but also bring economic prosperity to the entire country," he said.
The birth place of Buddha, situated near Indian border, can be an important international centre from economic and cultural point of view, he said.
Maoist foreign department chief Krishna Bahadur Mahara is accompanying Prachanda.
Last year also, Prachanda visited Malaysia in connection with the meeting of the APEC Foundation there.
Prachanda will return to Kathmandu on Wednesday along with a delegation of APEC to discuss the matter relating to the mega project.
The team led by senior Chinese leader Zhou Yongkang, as a special envoy of Chinese President Hu Jintao, will hold discussion about conducting feasibility study for developing Lumbini as a special development zone with Nepalese authorities, according to Annapurn Post daily.