S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 001197
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER KDEM MARR IN NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: INDIAN OFFICIALS TAKE TOUGHER STAND ON MAOISTS
REF: KATHMANDU 1112
Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty. Reasons 1.4 (b/d).
¶1. (C) On June 15, Indian Ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee confirmed to the Ambassador that the Government of India had taken a tougher line on Maoist abuses. Mukherjee’s recent visit to New Delhi had coincided with the visit of Communist Party of Nepal – United Marxist Leninist General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal. According to Mukherjee, who sat in on a June 6 meeting between Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and MK Nepal, the Foreign Minister had expressed concern that the law and order situation in Nepal continued to deteriorate and Maoist abuses had gone unpunished. Moreover, Foreign Minister Mukherjee had been categorical in his discussion with MK Nepal that the Maoists should not be integrated into the Nepal Army. Ambassador Mukherjee asserted that the GOI would not tolerate continued attempts by the Maoist splinter Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (“”People’s Terai Liberation Front””) (JTMM) to derail the Constituent Assembly election. He agreed that the Maoists had not showed a true commitment to joining the political mainstream.
Indian Foreign Minister Concerned About Maoist Intentions
¶2. (C) Indian Ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee told the Ambassador on June 15 that senior Indian officials had voiced concern about ongoing Maoist abuses during Mukherjee’s recent consultations in New Delhi. Similarly, in a meeting between Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Kumar Mukherjee and Communist Party of Nepal – United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) General Secretary Madav Kumar Nepal on June 6, the Foreign Minister
SIPDIS had confirmed that the leadership of the Government of India (GOI) was increasingly concerned with the deteriorating security situation in Nepal. Maoist abuses needed to be punished. Foreign Minister Mukherjee had told MK Nepal that the seven parties in the governing coalition needed to stay united and take clear steps to prepare for free and fair elections in November. This was the only way, FM Mukherjee had opined, to keep the Maoists in the political process. The Foreign Minister had also made it clear to MK Nepal that the GON should not – under any circumstances – integrate Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army.
Home Minister Will Stay On
¶3. (C) Foreign Minister Mukherjee had hinted to MK Nepal during their meeting, according to Ambassador Mukherjee, that Home Minister Sitaula needed to do more to address the country’s security situation. The Indian Ambassador speculated that Sitaula had dodged a bullet because the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) had retracted its demand for his resignation. Mukherjee acknowledged to the Ambassador that Sitaula was a big part of the problem; unfortunately, he noted, Sitaula would probably stay on as Home Minister.
JTMM Activity Won’t Be Tolerated
¶4. (C) Mukherjee agreed with the Ambassador that the Government of Nepal had to take concrete steps to include marginalized groups in the political process. He also noted that the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (“”People’s Terai Liberation Front””) (JTMM) should be brought into discussions and convinced to declare a “”revolutionary cease-fire”” to save face. Mukherjee told the Ambassador that the GOI would do “”everything in its power”” to address the situation if the JTMM tried to derail the Constituent Assembly election. Mukherjee felt that Maoist acts of violence would be the single most destabilizing factor leading up to the election. He asserted that the U.S. should stand firm in its decision not to communicate with the Maoists, as doing so would only reward bad behavior.
Maoists Not Invited to New Delhi
¶5. (S/NF) When asked by the Ambassador whether the Maoists had been invited back to New Delhi for consultations, Ambassador Mukherjee said that officials in New Delhi had refused the informal requests for a visit they had received from Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal (aka Prachanda). According to Mukherjee, Dahal’s go-betweens were told by the Indian Embassy that it was not the time for a visit to New Delhi because the Maoists had continued to break their commitments to the peace process. The Maoists had reportedly lamented the fact that they had “”lost their former channels”” of communication to New Delhi. In response, GOI officials had made it clear that, since the Maoists had entered into the Interim Government, the intelligence community was no longer their conduit. “”We are the conduit now,”” Ambassador Mukherjee noted, referring to his embassy.
¶6. (C) The Indian Ambassador continues privately to express much more pessimism about Maoist actions and intentions than in the past (reftel). Mukherjee shared our analysis that the Maoists continue to seek total state power — even if he is not prepared to say so publicly. Foreign Minister Mukherjee’s recent push for CPN-UML leader MK Nepal to maintain seven-party unity and enforce law and order was useful and timely. According to the Indian political counselor, Prime Minister Monmohan Singh was even blunter with MK Nepal, warning him to be wary of the Maoists and urging him to work with Prime Minister Koirala. We hope that a two-pronged message from India and the U.S. could help push the GON to address the current security situation and move quickly toward a November Constituent Assembly election while maintaining guard against Maoist machinations.