Monday, May 30, 2005

NEPAL: Foreign policy alien to India

Consider the facts. Bhattarai, the number two man in the insurgent hierarchy in Nepal, is an internationally wanted terrorist, blessed with an Interpol red corner notice. A fortnight ago, the Nepalese authorities released tapes of an intercepted wireless conversation involving the Maoist chief Prachanda. During the exchange, Prachanda revealed that the Indian authorities were anxiously seeking a meeting with Bhattarai. Predictably, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu denied that any such plans were afoot. A week later, it emerged that not only had Bhattarai met Indian Intelligence officials but had even exchanged Marxist dialectics with Karat. The implications are both hideous and ominous. Apart from constituting a blatantly unfriendly act, the incident shows India has a reckless disregard for all international norms of anti-terrorism. There is a marked inconsistency between demanding that Pakistan scrupulously adhere to the red corner alert for Dawood Ibrahim and rolling out the red carpet for Bhattarai. If the indulgence shown by Bangladesh to ULFA chief Paresh Barua constitutes an affront to India and warrants diplomatic opprobrium, New Delhi is guilty of the same as far as Kathmandu is concerned.

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