Minister: India open to talks with Nepal

NEW DELHI, May 19 (UPI) -- India's Foreign Ministry says New Delhi is open to talks with Nepal on the 1950 peace and friendship treaty the Himalayan country's Maoists want to scrap.

Speaking to reporters in India's West Bengal state, Pranab Mukherjee India said he was open to holding talks on the issue but added participating in a dialogue would arise only if an initiative came from the Nepalese side, the Press Trust of India reported Monday.


The Maoists, who led a rebellion in Nepal against the monarchy for a decade before accepting a peace agreement in 2006, are now expected to lead the new government after a stunning election victory in April.

"We want a new relationship with India, which means better relation, better understanding and better cooperation," Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal or Prachanda told CNN-IBN recently.

He said a review of the 1950 Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty would help satisfy those Nepalese who feel it is not benefiting them.

There have been concerns in India the Maoist election victory may draw the landlocked kingdom closer to its other giant neighbor, China.


"We will try to maintain equidistance between Delhi and Beijing in political sense, but not in practical sense and in matters of cooperation," Prachanda said.

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