M A I N   N E W S

New Delhi welcomes move
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21
India today welcomed King Gyanendra's move to transfer executive power to a government constituted by the seven-party alliance which has been at the vanguard of the pro-democracy movement in the Himalayan Kingdom.

“This action by His Majesty, the King of Nepal, who has reaffirmed his commitment to multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy, should now pave the way for the restoration of political stability and economic recovery of the country,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Navtej Sarna told newspersons here.

“India has stood by the people of Nepal in their hour of need and now stands ready to render all possible assistance to enable Nepal to achieve political stability and economic recovery at the earliest possible date,” the spokesman said.

“The people of Nepal have undergone acute suffering and economic hardship during the last several months, but have always kept faith in democracy and freedom,” he said adding that “they deserve our respect and admiration”.

“We sincerely hope that the aspirations of the people of Nepal can now be addressed by enabling them to enjoy their rights through a democratic electoral exercise free from the threat of violence,” the spokesman stressed.

Welcoming the development, Prime Minister's Special Envoy Karan Singh told The Tribune: “I hope that this would help in restoration of peace, social harmony and development in Nepal.”

Dr Singh, who played an important role in persuading King Gyanendra to see reason and climb down from his rigid anti-democracy stance, expressed hope that “tensions within the Nepalese society would be eased so that the Himalayan Kingdom is able to achieve its true potential”.

The Union Government was happy at the positive response of King Gyanendra, sources said, adding that “country's credibility with the people, political parties and the King has gone up”.

Earlier Dr Karan Singh had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to brief him about his mission to Nepal.

He had indeed told newspersons after his meeting with the Prime Minister that “it is our hope and expectation that perhaps by the end of the day some major announcement will be made. We are hoping that there will be some major step towards reinstating democracy”.

Declining to give details of his talks with the King, Dr Karan Singh said diplomatically: “I am not going into details. We must give time to the King to clearly think over it and not to dictate. Nepal is an independent country. We have done our bit.”

Dr Karan Singh said he also briefed Congress president Sonia Gandhi about his visit to Nepal.

New Delhi had decided on Tuesday to send Dr Karan Singh as the Special Envoy to make efforts to convince the King to revitalise democracy and give up absolute power.

King Gyanendra seized power by ousting an elected government on February 1, last year, triggering international criticism.

India, along with the international community, had been mounting pressure on the King to restore democracy and in this direction had even suspended military supplies to Nepal.

The government has been constantly monitoring the developments in Nepal arising out of mass protests against the monarchy.

The security forces along the border with Nepal had been alerted.

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