Unequal India-Nepal accords need to be reworked: Prachanda

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Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, Jan 19 (PTI) Nepal Maoist chief Prachandatoday sought to allay India''s concerns that his party wasstrongly anti-Indian, but underlined that the two countriesneed to redefine the ''unequal'' accords of the past given thedramatic changes of the past few years.

On the second say of her three-day visit, ForeignSecretary Rao today met the Maoist chairman who also told herthat his party was committed to honour the agreements signedin line with the peace process in Nepal.

Rao went to Prachanda''s residence at Nayabazaar on theoutskirts of Kathmandu to meet the former prime minister thisevening as she intensified consultations with top leaders ofNepal. Her visit comes at a time when Nepal''s politicalparties are struggling to bring the tottering peace process ontrack.

The Maoist chief told media persons after the meetingthat he also assured Rao that his party is committed to fullyabide by the peace agreements signed in the past including theComprehensive Peace Agreement.

During the meeting the Maoist leader also sought todispel the view that his party maintains an anti-India stance.

Prachanda has often blamed India for interfering inthe affairs of Nepal and has demanded that the 1950 Peace andFriendship Treaty and other "unequal treaties" with India bescrapped.

The Maoist chief had also described India as itsprincipal enemy in his political paper at a party conclavelast year.

During the meeting, Prachanda also said that the twocountries need to redefine the past agreements and accords inline with the changed circumstances.

In response to Rao''s question regarding the fate ofthe Maoist combatants after the exit of the United Nations''mission in the country, Prachanda told her that the formercombatants will come under the purview of a special committeecomprising members of all major political parties that isresponsible for monitoring of the arms and the armies.

Rao earlier held consultations with top leaders ofmajor political parties, including Nepali Congress presidentShushil Koirala and former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

During her meetings with the leaders, Rao enquiredabout the state of the peace process following the exit of theUN mission and about matters relating to army integration anddrafting of the constitution.

She said India wants peace, stability and progress toprevail in Nepal, underlining the need for all politicalparties to set aside differences and come together to resolvethe stalemate. .

Rao was scheduled to meet CPN-UML president Jhalan Nath Khanal later in the evening.

She is also expected to meet Deputy Prime Minister andForeign Minister Sujata Koirala before wrapping up the threeday visit tomorrow.

Rao had yesterday met President Ram Baran Yadav, PrimeMinister Madhav Kumar Nepal, and Parliament speaker SubhashNemwang on the first day of her official visit.

During her meeting with Prime Minister Nepal, Rao hadconveyed India''s strong support to a satisfactory culminationof the peace process and strengthening of multi partydemocracy in Nepal.

Nepal is locked in a political crisis for over a yearand its peace process is in tatters as it struggles to getover political and ideological differences between majorparties who were elected to the Constituent Assembly in 2008in the landmark elections that marked the country''s transitionfrom a monarchy to a parliamentary republic.

The Constituent Assembly that was tasked with draftinga constitution has failed to make any progress and the peaceprocess remains stalled.

Nepal has also failed to elect a new prime ministerfollowing the resignation of Nepal, with 16 rounds ofinconclusive polls in the parliament, further hampering thepeace process.

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