President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav returned home on Thursday (yesterday) completing his four-day visit to India. It was a mixed bag. To his supporters, New Delhi not only expressed solidarity with the budding Nepali republic but also demonstrated strong support for the president for his hardline position against the Maoist-led government. His detractors, especially the Maoists, could argue that it was but natural for Delhi to accord the president a warm welcome. Delhi, to this group, gave him a ‘thank you’ for doing what he was asked to do: revoke the Maoist-led government’s decision to sack the then-Army chief Rookmangud Katawal.
Some Nepal-watchers here say New Delhi has no illusion about the ceremonial status of Nepal’s president. “After all, it is the political parties, including the Maoists, who have to come together to complete the work on the constitution,” said an Indian analyst insisting anonymity. “Indians know they can back the president only so far. If they push more than what is seen as undermining the democratic process in Nepal, they will be facing the wrath of the Nepali people as it happened in the 2006 movement.” New Delhi changed tack as Nepalis continued with the movement ignoring Delhi’s initial efforts to bring together monarchy and political parties and restore democracy. Continue reading Analysis: Nepal President’s India Visit→
In the most important and busiest day of his four-day maiden visit to India, President Ram Baran Yadav on Tuesday (today) met several top Indian leaders including counterpart Prativa Patil, Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh and Indian National Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Gandhi, unarguably the most important leader of present day India, went to the Taj Palace hotel to meet the visiting president in the evening.
Before Gandhi, several key cabinet ministers and vice president Hamid Ansari called on the Nepali leader in the hotel. Foreign minister SM Krishna, Finance minister Pranab Mukharjee, Home minister P Chidambaram met the president separately. A new appointment was added in the schedule in which India’s new national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon paid a courtesy call on the president. Commerce minister Anand Sharma and chief of the Congress party’s international department Dr. Karan Singh accompanied Gandhi.
In all of the meetings, UWB has learned, the Indian leaders expressed their concerns on the progress being made in drafting a new constitution in Nepal. They asked whether the constitution writing process would be completed on time, according to President Yadav’s press adviser Rajendra Dahal. Likewise the Indian leaders also keenly inquired about other aspects of the peace process including the governing alliance’s efforts in bringing the UCPN Maoist into confidence. The President is learned to have said that all 22 political parties who supported his controversial move to revoke the then PM’s decision to sack the then Army chief are still undivided and all the political parties in the CA including the Maoists might come together in future as the agenda of change belongs to them. [The Indian side, as it happens in all such occasions, tried to seek assurances from the Nepali side that Nepali land would not be used for anti-India activities.]
Indian media may have ignored the Nepali presidential visit but the warm and high-level welcome that the President got from the Indian political leadership was noteworthy. Some may interpret it as India’s strong approval of the President’s anti-Maoist stand back home.
Prior to the marathon meetings in the hotel the Indian president formally welcomed the Nepali guest in a ceremony in the presidential palace with a 21-gun salute. National anthems of both countries were played during the colorful ceremony. Later in the day, the Prime Minister had lunch with President Yadav in Hyderabad House that is near to the Prime Minister’s office. All key members of the Indian cabinet were present. Nepal and India signed on a new air service agreement and three memorandums of understanding related to development of railway infrastructure in five bordering points and construction of polytechnic institute in Hetauda and a city hall in Birganj. None of the issues are new though.
The Indian press, busy in covering the aftermath of Pune blast, the Maoist attack in West Bengal and impending India-Pakistan talks, didn’t care much about the Nepali presidential visit but the warm and high-level welcome that the president got from the Indian political leadership was noteworthy. This will be interpreted in some quarters in Nepal as India’s strong support to the new Republic in Nepal especially in the context of recent visit by ex-king Gyanendra during which he met some top leaders including Sonia Gandhi. Or, in some other quarters, it could be interpreted as India’s strong approval of the President’s first year in office in which he angered the UCPN Maoist, the largest party in the constituent assembly, that resulting in the former rebel’s exit from the government and the political chaos that exists in Nepal now.
Meanwhile, the President seemed to portray his visit as one far from controversy and one of the regular trips that every Head of State of Nepal is supposed to make. “Nepal-India relations are confluence of political, economic, and unique ties at people-to-people level,” said the president while addressing the dinner party hosted by his Indian counterpart. “It cannot be defined by only one element, let alone be confined to one dimension. These multifaceted and multidimensional relations have been nurtured by frequent contacts and interactions at various levels. I am confident that my first visit to India as the head of state of a new Republic of Nepal will contribute to further consolidating our mutually beneficial close relations.”
First foreign trip of the First President of the Himalayan Republic
Dr Ram Baran Yadav has started his first foreign trip (to India) as the first head of the state of the republic of Nepal on Monday (today). President Yadav, who landed in Delhi’s IG International Airport this afternoon, started discussions with Indian leaders at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel where he is staying. Top opposition leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Sharad Yadav paid courtesy call on the president.
“I asked the President his assessment of the situation where writing constitution is not completed in time,” said Advani who is a towering personality in the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. “The president will be meeting the Prime Minister of India, Foreign Minister and possibly chairperson of the Congress party. I am sure that they would like democracy to be strengthen in Nepal. So is our party and NDA’s (National Democratic Alliance) interest.”
Asked if his party still had reservations about Maoists coming to power in Nepal, Advani replied: “That’s the feeling of many democrats even in Nepal.”
Asked if he raised the issue of Maoist’s ‘anti-India’ agitation in Nepal, Advani said: ” I didn’t raise the issue as that’s not what I am supposed to do. But I said that we would like Nepal’s religious, cultural and political relation with India as farm and strong as they have always been.”
In his meeting with the President, Sharad Yadav, leader of Janata Dal United, asked if the constitution would be written on time in Nepal. He also inquired about the challenges for the completion of drafting a constitution on time.
“The president said that the work is on right track,” said Rajendra Dahal, press adviser to the president. “But it’s slow, he said. The problem is political and the president said Nepal expects best wishes from India reminding India’s role during the time of conflict by helping to bring the Maoists into mainstream.”
Leader of ruling Nationalist Congress Party, D P Tripathi, also paid a courtesy called on the President. Similarly Indian foreign secretary Nirapuma Rao also met the President in the evening.
The president is scheduled to meet his counterpart Prativa Patil, Prime Minister Manmonah Singh, Foreign Minister SM Krishna and other leaders including United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday.
Air Service Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding with India on constructing Railway infrastructure will be signed at the ministerial level on Tuesday. Similarly two other Memorandums of Understanding on constructing a Polytechnic institute in Hatuda and a Friendship Building in Birganj will also be signed at the secretary level. The railway infrastructure MOU is about extending Indian railway links to five border points with Nepal.
President will go to Haridwar on Wednesday. State Minister for External Affairs Praneet Kaur had received the president at the airport. The president attended a dinner party hosted by the Nepali ambassador to India Rukma Shumser Rana at the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi in the evening.
2. When several Indian soldiers came under a deadly avalanche in Kashmir recently, a Nepali rifleman serving in the Indian army’s Gorkha Rifles was among those who died.
3. A Nepali working at German Bakery, Pune is suspected to be among the nine dead in yesterday’s blast. Four Nepalis were injured. The Bakery is run by a Nepali where 70 of his compatriots work. Keep on reading for details
Four Nepali nationals have been injured in the deadly German Bakery blast in the Indian city of Pune on Saturday (yesterday) that killed nine people. The nationality of one of the dead could not be ascertained, but his name is said to be Gokul Nepali. Some workers at the Bakery said that their colleague 32-year-old Gokul Padewa from Nuwakot district in Nepal have been missing since yesterday. Padewa was inside the Bakery when the bomb exploded. It was not clear till late Sunday (today) if Gokul Nepali and Gokul Padewa were the same person.
At least 55 people were injured in the incident. The injured Nepalis work at the Bakery that is run by their compatriot from Nuwakot district in central Nepal. Two of the injured–Paras Rimal and Manish Shrestha–hail from Nuwakot, while Ganga Magar and Pravin Panta are from Bara and Kathmandu respectively. Paras was undergoing treatment at local Sassoon Hospital until late afternoon today.
The Hospital sources said they could not verify Gokul Nepali’s address. Also, the name and address of two other dead persons has not been known.
A total of 70 Nepalis work in the Bakery that is popular among foreigners who go to the nearby Osho Ashram. a Jewish Chhabad house and a synagogue are half a kilometer away from the bakery.
A few Nepalis who tried to meet owner of the Bakery, Gopal Karki, said their effort was futile. “May be he is too busy helping police in investigation,” said a Nepali living in Puna. Originally opened by a German, the Bakery is being run by Karki for the past 25 years.
In an effort to reduce tensions between their two nations, Nepalis and Indians come at a border point to hoist their national flags, sing their national songs and pay respect to their martyrs. But Indian Border Security Force’s harassment continues in eastern border (see box)
By Janak Nepal
Flags were hoisted, national anthems sung and tributes paid to martyrs of both countries—Nepal and India— in no-man’s land at Jamunaha border point near the Nepali town of Nepalgunj on Saturday (30 Jan) for a reason. The people from the two countries exchanged roses in a show of friendship and harmony.
‘Indian ploy to legitimize what they have been doing informally for the past 10 years’
By Saroj Raj Adhikari
The secretariat of Nepal’s Security Council has advised the government not to allow India put sky marshals in their planes flying out from Kathmandu. The secretariat that takes stock of security issues before providing any advise to the Cabinet recommended against deploying sky marshals on Wednesday (January 27). to the Prime Minister’s Office, Defense Ministry and Home Ministry. According to a source at the PMO, the secretariat suggested that allowing India deploy sky marshals could have lasting impact on issues related to nationalism. The secretariat had termed the Indian proposal ‘interventionist approach’ on the eve of Prime Minister’s visit to India a few months ago. Continue reading Nepal Govt Advised Not to Allow India Deploy Sky Marshals→
New Delhi’s pressure to allow sky marshals on Indian planes flying out from Kathmandu has put Nepali government agencies in a dilemma. Foreign and Home Ministry officials held consultations with their colleagues in the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) before Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna’s visit to Nepal in mid-January and Home Minister Bhim Rawal’s India visit last week, according to TKP. As Nepal is a party to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), MoTCA officials say, armed foreign nationals should hand over their weapons to Nepali security when they get off the plane as per Standard Operating Procedures. The Indian side has proposed that Indian air marshals will remain inside the plane at all times. “They will be deployed in plainclothes,” said a senior Nepal government official. “The Home and Foreign ministries have received feedback from the Tourism Ministry that Nepal could allow the air marshals. However, the Ministry of Home should make a call on such a big decision,” said the official. Continue reading ‘India Already Has Sky Marshals in Nepal-Bound Planes’→
If Indians do not trust Nepali security apparatus at the Kathmandu airport, they should stop flying to Nepal for the time being. Why should, after all, they take the risk?
India has once again asked Nepal to allow it to deploy sky-marshals in its airplanes flying out from Kathmandu. While the request is not new this time it comes with a veiled threat. India has conveyed to Nepal- at the highest levels- that it expects a “prompt and positive” response and could even be forced to take “unilateral action” in the eventuality of a hijack from Kathmandu, according to a report in today’s Indian Express, an Indian daily. The Indian government underlined this message, thinly veiled threat, to visiting Nepalese Home Minister Bhim Rawal during a meeting with Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram on last week (18 Jan), according to the Express. Rawal was also told about the Indian apprehension that jehadis could have crossed into Nepal via its porous land border and could be waiting for an opportunity to strike. [Now the question is: what was India doing while jehadis were crossing into Nepal via its land? It should be noted that terrorists didn’t come via Nepal to attack Mumbai on 26 November 2008.] Continue reading India Again Presses Nepal on Sky Marshals in Airplanes. This Time With a Veiled Threat→
Out of the 1808-km Nepal-India border, various rivers traverse 650 km and many border pillars have been washed away. But those pillars that are close to human settlements are found to have been removed by the Indian peasants, often in collusion with the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), the Indian paramilitary force deployed at the border.
The border dispute between Nepal and India has gained prominence following the recent visits to border regions by top leaders of UCPN (Maoist) as a part of the party’s fourth phase of protest programme. Though the party on Friday called off its nationwide strike that was supposed to start on Sunday, it has stressed that its campaign for national sovereignty and civilian supremacy will continue. It is in this heated political climate that Pranab Kharel, Biswas Baral and Kamal Raj Sigdel asked Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, the former Director General of Survey Department, to shed light on various border issues.
You have just visited some of the disputed points on the Indo-Nepal border. India has been saying that 98 percent of the strip map is complete and disputes remain only over Susta and Kalapani.
Shrestha: Nepal and India share 1808-km long border. According to official estimates, 98 percent of this border has been demarcated and 182 border maps prepared. On that basis, 8,553 border pillars have been erected. Regarding the clarity of these border maps, the then Indian Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee during his official visit to Nepal had stated that since there were some disputes over these maps, they be corrected and forwarded to the plenipotentiaries of both the countries for signature. This also indicates there is some ambiguity regarding the maps. The Constituent Assembly’s (CA) Committee on International Relations and Human Rights visited the border areas from Susta to Tanakpur from Dec. 24, 2009 — Jan. 3, 2010. We had an officer from the Survey Department who had brought the maps of the disputed areas as requested by the CA committee. Upon tallying the maps in some disputed pocket areas, the team could not find the main boundary pillars — though they existed on the map. Continue reading On Nepal-India Border Issue→
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala with foreign diplomats at Tribhuwan International Airport before leaving for New Delhi on Tuesday.Pic, first published in eKantipur, by Bikas Rauniar
After American President George W. Bush, it was today the turn of Nepal’s Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to be received by the Indian Prime Minister at the New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport in the recent memory [Bill Clinton was received in 2000 by Foreign Minister Jashwant Singh]. “You are the greatest leader in South Asia,” said Man Mohan Singh, the Indian leader, while shaking hands of his Nepali counterpart. “We respect you and we are proud of you.” Continue reading India Welcomes Nepal: Koirala Greatest South Asian Leader→