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India wants Nepal crisis resolved in friendly manner

Friday 29 April 2005

Special Correspondent

Military aid under constant review, will remain under review: Natwar Singh

NEW DELHI: While there are ``many levers’’ that can be used against Nepal it has not used any, India said on Thursday. For, it wanted the crisis in the Himalayan Kingdom resolved in a friendly manner.

On resuming military assistance, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh told the Rajya Sabha, ``military aid was constantly under review and will continue to remain under review.’’

Pointing out that India enjoyed ``unique’’ relations with Nepal, whose 60 lakh citizens worked in this country without passport, Mr. Singh said that when the Prime Minister and he met the King Gyanendra recently in Jakarta, he promised to lift political censorship, release political prisoners and allow Indian TV channels to be beamed in Nepal. The King also mentioned ``certain areas’’ where Nepal needed help.

``To none of this did the King say no but said it would take time in areas where the Maoists are strong. It is deeply regretful that when he goes back after talks, no less than a former Prime Minister is arrested.’’

As soon as news came of the arrest of Sher Singh Deuba’s arrest, India deplored the action, Mr. Singh said. ``It is distressing that soon after the King met the Prime Minister promising to unwind emergency and release political prisoners, this was done. For three months the situation in Nepal has deteriorated rapidly. It is the firm belief of the Government of India that constitutional monarchy and democracy should co-exist.’’

Mr. Singh was responding to the observation by Nilotpal Basu (CPI-M) on the police crackdown on the funeral procession of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) leader, Sadhna Pradhan. ``The battle against Maoists cannot be fought in this manner. India should not be seen as supporting a regime that has gone berserk against the democratic opposition. I urge that we should do everything possible to engage with the Nepalese regime but we can’t put all our eggs in one diplomatic basket of an authoritarian regime.’’

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