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India not to resume arms supplies to Nepal, says envoy
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 4
There is no question of India resuming military supplies to Nepal till New Delhi’s demands listed in its February 1 statement are met, though India will continue to stay engaged with the Himalayan kingdom.

At the same time, India continues to stay engaged at all levels with Nepal which is evident from the fact that there is no restriction or freezing of Rs 65 crore annual aid to Nepal for developmental works.

The Indian Ambassador in Nepal, Mr Shiv Shanker Mukherjee, who is currently here on the government’s instructions, has been categorically told by the leadership to convey to King Gyanendra of Nepal that Indian arms supplies to Nepal will not be resumed under the circumstances, Mr Mukherjee told The Tribune this evening.

On the day of the royal coup on February 1, New Delhi had issued a strongly-worded statement wherein it had said: ‘‘India has consistently supported multiparty democracy and constitutional monarchy enshrined in Nepal’s Constitution as the two pillars of political stability in Nepal. This principle has now been violated with the King forming a government under his chairmanship. We have always considered that in Nepal, it is imperative to evolve a broad national consensus, particularly between the monarchy and political parties, to deal with the political and economic challenges facing the country. The latest developments in Nepal bring the monarchy and the mainstream political parties in direct confrontation with each other. This can only benefit the forces that not only wish to undermine democracy but the institution of monarchy as well.’’

This situation has not changed even after the King has already lifted emergency. Mr Mukherjee, who extensively briefed External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh yesterday and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran today, has told the government that the lifting of the emergency has been followed by further repressive measures.

This has resulted into the coming together of political parties in Nepal. These parties, which so far have been like several horses pulling the chariot in different directions, have now prepared a joint political programme to take on the King. India is keeping close tab on the fast-changing political scenario in Nepal and views the joint political programme as the first step by disparate political outfits to come together.

The UPA Government has accepted Mr Mukherjee’s contention that the battle between the Royal Nepal Army and the Maoist insurgents, which is increasingly becoming bloodier, is bound to have a dangerous fallout for India. This is even more so because the Nepalese Maoists have close links with several Indian left wing extremist outfits and India and Nepal share a 1751-km-long open border.

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