External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Saturday conveyed India’s “deep disappointment” to Maoist leader Prachanda over his attack on the country, saying his “baseless propaganda” vitiates the age-old and time-tested relations between the two countries.
During a meeting with Mr. Prachanda here, Mr. Krishna asked the Maoists to fulfil their peace process commitments and join consensus on concluding the peace process and drafting of the new constitution by the targeted date of May 28.
Mr. Krishna “conveyed deep disappointment at the baseless attacks on India by the Maoist leadership which vitiates the age-old and time-tested friendly relations between India and Nepal and peoples of the two countries,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash told reporters after the hour-long meeting with Mr. Prachanda.
Mr. Prachanda has recently been engaged in a vicious attack on India, accusing it of interfering in Nepal’s internal affairs.
Mr. Krishna “emphasised that such baseless propaganda has a negative impact on Indian public opinion,” Mr. Prakash said.
During his conversation with Prachanda that covered the political developments in Nepal, Krishna underlined the importance of rebuilding consensus among political parties of the country to conclude the peace process and draft the new Constitution within the stipulated time—frame of May 28, the MEA spokesman said.
Mr. Krishna asked Mr. Prachanda and his party to “fulfill their peace process commitments which would enable Nepal to complete its historic transition to a multi-party and inclusive democracy.”
Mr. Prachanda told reporters that the meeting had opened doors for talks with India.
Pressing for revision of the “unequal” 1950 Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty, Prachanda said his expression of “concern” over various issues was not to “disturb” relations with India but he wanted a “new basis” for strengthening bilateral ties.
“We had very good interaction. We put our position in very clear and very frank way on all problems of old Treaty and how it is necessary to replace the old Treaty with a new one,” said the Maoist leader and former Nepal Prime Minister who went to Mr. Krishna’s hotel to meet him.
Mr. Prachanda, who resigned as prime minister in May last year after his move to sack the then Army Chief R Katawal was thwarted, has been stalling the peace process and critical of India.
“We want to develop good relations with India, not with old basis but new basis. Without creating the new basis, it is very difficult to strengthen relations with India,” Mr. Prachanda told reporters.
He contended that people of Nepal want change in its policies. “We have to develop a new foreign policy and particularly our party wants to develop a new basis to have a good relations with India.”
Mr. Prachanda said he was raising “concerns” related to the Friendship Treaty issue, border matters and economic development “not to disturb the relation with India but to create a more positive, more scientific basis for relations with India."