SD Muni: I am optimistic this time because the UCPN (Maoist) has taken an official decision to conclude the peace process. Young CA members are pressurising the leadership and the Supreme Court has ruled out any further extension of the CA term leaving no other option than to conclude the process within the deadline.
There is a general refrain about profound Indian influence in Nepali politics? Do you agree?
No, I don't think this is the case. Anti-Indian rhetoric has become fashionable in Nepal these days. All I want to say is that as long as Nepali leaders take care of their affairs and do not dash off to Delhi with every little problem, nobody can influence their decisions.
The Indian government has been increasingly troubled by its own Maoist insurgency. Do you see any connection between Indian and Nepali Maoists?
I don't believe there is any organisational contact between the two parties, although there may be personal links between some members.
How would you explain the Indian government's refusal to send the agrément for Ram Karki (and Chandrakant Poudel in the past) who had been nominated as the Nepali Ambassador to India?
The Indian government must have been worried about the legal complications involving Karki's case due to his past ties with Indian Naxalites. But I personally feel his agrément should be cleared.
What do you feel is the basis of India's Nepal policy?
People here think India's foreign ministry dictates the Nepal policy. What they don't realise is that right from the Prime Minister's office, there are many other influential groups lobbying in Nepal's favour. For instance, during the economic blockade enforced by Rajiv Gandhi's government, people like Sankaracharya, the Army Chief, business community, powerful people in Bihar and UP and many leaders in the ruling Congress party pressurised the state to lift the blockade. Often, bureaucrats sitting in the ministry make wrong calls and reporting from the embassies is not always accurate either.