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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2374

Indian foreign secy visiting Nepal as political deepens in Nepal

Kosh R Koirala – Reporting from Nepal

Kathmandu, 17 June, (Asiantribune.com): Amidst worsening political atmosphere and almost everyday protests of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) against India over the alleged border encroachment Indian foreign secretary Shiva Shankar Menon is due to visit Nepal starting June 20.Officials at Foreign Ministry in Kathmandu confirmed that Menon will be arriving in Kathmandu Saturday to discuss

[caption id="attachment_617" align="alignright" width="197" caption="Shiv Shankar Menon"]Shiv Shankar Menon[/caption]

the lack of progress in the ongoing peace process and various other issues of mutual interests between Nepal and India. Menon will also will also take the issue of prolonged delay in the expansion of cabinet.

The Indian envoy is to meet newly elected Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala and Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, whose Madhesi People’s Right Forum (MPRF) has threatened to quit the coalition government unless his party is given the ministerial portfolios it wants. Among others, Menon will meet Defence Minister Bidya Bhandari, and the home minister, if the cabinet gets one before his two-day visit.

It is still unclear whether the envoy would meet former prime minister and chairman of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, whose party has been blaming India’s hand for the fall of his government on May 4.

The party has also lately stepped protest activities against India over the alleged border encroachment and excesses against Nepali from Indian border security force in various bordering areas including in Dang district in south western Nepal.

Maoist’s Chairman Dahal had revealed that he sought Indian help to resolve the stand off between army and his government over army chief dismissal row last month and requested Indian government to sent Menon or top envoy to Kathmandu. However, Indian government ignored the request as it was caught up in the election juggernaut, ultimately forcing the collapse of his government.

Analysts say Menon’s visit holds great significance as it comes in the wake of heightened political turbulence in Himalayan country as newly-elected Prime Minister Nepal has failed to give full shape to the cabinet even four weeks after he assumed the post of chief executive in the county on May 23 due to differences among coalition partners.

Worse still, the Maoists have been calling general strikes in different parts of the country in various pretexts after the collapse of their nine-month long government. Normal life is badly hit in the country as different agitation parties have been resorting to banda to exert pressure on the fragile government to meet their partisan
demands.

While there were four separate strikes Sunday, the Maoists called a bandh in Kathmandu valley, the capital city, protesting against the mysterious death of a cadre on Monday. The Maoist also called a regional strike in the far western part of the country, closing down seven remote districts to protests move of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav to reinstate army chief Rookmangud Katawal, who was sacked by Maoist government without getting consent from coalition partners.

Life in Terai districts in southern Nepal is also badly hit as Federation of Backward Communities Nepal announced indefinite strikes starting Monday to press the government for its demands.

- Asian Tribune -

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