Former Prime Minister and Coordinator of Naya Shakti Nepal Baburam Bhattarai has said that there is a lack of ‘proper understanding’ in India about Nepal. Speaking to Post before concluding his visit to India on Tuesday, leader Bhattarai said mainly young generation of India has some flawed understanding about Nepal and bilateral relations between the two countries. The former prime minister maintained that there is a need of dialogue, debate and discussions to rebuild the bilateral relations in the change political context Nepal and India.
Bhattarai made such remark after extensive discussions with Indian intellectual and policy makers during his seven-day stay in New Delhi. Bhattarai underlined the need for building a bilateral relation between two countries at the top political levels. Bhattarai was of the view that there has been a huge change in the political scenario of both countries and bilateral relation should be rebuilt accordingly. He was referring that Nepal has entered into a new era after the promulgation of constitution in 2015 and there is the emergence of Bharatiya Janata Party as a single largest ruling party in India.
“There should be dialogue at the top level regarding the interest of both countries. We should move ahead addressing those concerns,” Bhattarai said. He opined that India should not be engaged in micro-management of Nepal. “India’s interest in micro-management will only increase the anti-Indian sentiment in Nepal. It will benefit the parties like CPN-UML,” he said. Bhattarai arrived here for attending a counter terrorism conference, holding talks with Indian side and participating in the party’s programs. Bhattarai, a senior Maoist party, has been consistently maintaining that differences with India should be resolved through diplomatic channel instead of taking to streets. During the insurgency in Nepal, leader Bhattarai was also accused of being soft to India.
During his interaction, Bhattarai gave a message to the Indian side to reflect on its past positions. At the same time, he said, India too needs to reflect and look ahead. “It has historically played a role in Nepal’s internal politics. But India’s position has often been inconsistent, and its own priorities and messages have not been clear,” the former prime minister said. Bhattarai said though India emphasized the issue of inclusive constitution, it didn’t not support the pro-inclusion forces. “But if this was a priority for India, why did it not support pro-inclusion forces in the first CA. At that time, pro inclusion forces were stronger, Maoist and Madhes were in fact allies,” he said. The first CA was dissolved without drafting a new constitution when Maoist was the largest party.
He said there is a need of clear commitment from India for Nepal’s economic development. “Our priority for now is economic growth, infrastructure and prosperity. We cannot achieve this without India’s active support,” he added. In all interactions, Indian diplomats and policy makers appreciated his role to integrate the Maoist combatants when he was prime minister in 2011 and peaceful democratic transition of Maoist party.
During his stay in the Indian Capital, Bhattarai met General Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party Ram Madav, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, among other leaders. Though his visit would not affect the national politics, it has contributed to kick-start a fresh debate on rebuilding the bilateral relations, he told the Post.