In New Delhi, Dahal meets with Indian Foreign Minister
India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, held talks with CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Saturday.
Dahal is currently in New Delhi for a three-day visit.
“Glad to welcome @cmprachanda to India during his visit at the invitation of BJP Chairman @JPNadda ji”, Jaishankar tweeted after meeting Dahal. “A productive discussion on strengthening our neighborly relations with a focus on economic cooperation.”
Dahal arrived in New Delhi on Friday at the invitation of JP Nadda, the national chairman of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
“Reflecting our neighborhood first policy, India will remain a staunch partner of Nepal in its pursuit of progress and prosperity,” Jaishankar added.
Earlier on Saturday, Dahal met with India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval.
Dahal addressed a function in Delhi on Saturday and attended a dinner hosted by Jaishankar.
On Sunday, Dahal is due to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Maoist chairman will return home on Sunday after meeting Nadda.
His visit to the south, described as political by experts and observers, comes shortly after the visit of a Chinese delegation to Kathmandu, and just before the general and provincial elections in Nepal.
Nepal will most likely go to the polls in November, although the government has yet to announce the date. The Electoral Commission has already proposed November 18 for both elections after successfully conducting local elections in May.
The Maoist Center became a decisive force in local elections, maintaining its position as the third political party in Nepal. And from the next elections, the Maoist party should retain its position as kingmaker.
While the BJP appears to be trying to establish party-to-party relations with the Maoist center, the Delhi establishment appears keen to engage Dahal, as communications with the Maoist leader have broken down in recent years.
Observers told the Post on Friday that Delhi considers Dahal an important leader and should invite him to assess contemporary politics in Nepal, the situation of the current coalition led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and the possibility of an alliance of left.
Dahal is a key coalition partner of the Deuba government.
Nepali Congress leader Arzu Rana Deuba, wife of Prime Minister Deuba, is also currently in Delhi. Dahal and Arzu met on Saturday morning at a tea party hosted by the Nepalese Embassy in New Delhi. Arzu arrived in Delhi a few days ago to treat one of her relatives, according to Congress leaders.
Addressing an interaction hosted by the Foundation for Public Awareness and Policy on Saturday, Dahal hailed Nepal-India relations, saying they are based on centuries-old ties of history, traditions socio-cultural and interpersonal contacts.
He also stressed the need to resolve some outstanding issues through dialogue.
“Some issues left over from history need to be resolved in good faith to realize the full potential of Nepal-India relations and bilateral cooperation,” he said. “Issues related to the 1950s treaty, the border and the EPG (Eminent Persons Group) report must be resolved through diplomatic efforts and dialogue.”
“In the spirit of good neighborliness, we can make our relationship problem-free,” he added.
The EPG report, although finalized in 2018, has yet to be received by the two countries’ prime ministers, largely due to Modi’s “tight schedule”.
“Our two countries share a history of harmonious coexistence. Our relations are rooted in antiquity. The relationships are deep and diverse, underpinned by mutual respect, cordiality and friendship,” Dahal said. “We are linked by geography as by history, by languages as by literature, by our common traditions as by religions, by land as by rivers. Not only history, but also fate has bound us.