Indian envoy meets Nepal PM amid India bashing

By Sudehsna Sarkar,IANS,

Kathmandu, Sep 5 (IANS) Amid growing India bashing by Nepal’s opposition Maoist party and a section of the Nepali media, India’s Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood Sunday met caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal ahead of the failed sixth round of the prime ministerial election.

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The prime minister’s foreign affairs advisor Rajen Bhattarai said the meeting discussed bilateral issues, Nepal’s political situation and the tenure of a UN political agency.

The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) was invited in 2007 due to the insistence of the Maoists to help in the ongoing peace process.

Currently, UNMIN supervises the arms and troops of the Nepal Army as well as nearly 20,000 Maoists’ guerrilla combatants.

UNMIN’s tenure will end Sep 15. However, due to the protracted political stalemate and the inability of Nepal’s parties to choose a new prime minister even after six rounds of election, the government has yet not said if UNMIN will get another extension.

While the Maoists want the UN body to stay on, Nepal’s major parties as well as the national army are opposed to it.

The army especially feels its soldiers should no longer remain under UN observation now that the insurgency has ended and the election taken place.

The Maoists have been blaming India for the parties’ reluctance to extend UNMIN’s term. They have also alleged India to be behind the surfacing of an audio tape last week in which a man, purported to be Maoist lawmaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, asks a “friend” in China for NRS 500 million to buy 50 MPs for Sunday’s election.

The Maoists are being backed by a section of Nepal’s media disgruntled at not receiving advertisement support from Indian joint ventures in Nepal.