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Delhi drags feet on Nepal envoy -By Aditya Kaul

India and Nepal appear to be in a state of deadlock over Nepal’s choice of its envoy to New Delhi: senior Maoist leader Ram Karki.

Nepal’s foreign ministry says they “have not heard” from New Delhi on Kathmandu’s “diplomatic agreemo” on Karki for the past four months, leaving the ambassadors post vacant.

‘Actually, the Nepali mission in Delhi has been without a head since August last year when Rukma Sumsher Rana was reportedly recalled by Kathmandu.

“We are still to hear from New Delhi. Its been 3-4 months since we sent the agreemo on Karki,” spokesperson of ministry of foreign affairs, Nepal, Arjun Thapa, told DNA.

He, however, refrained from commenting on the reasons behind the delay, saying he has also “heard stories” about New Delhi’s aversion to Karki but doesn’t know “how far they are true.”

The government of India did not offer any comments on the issue.
Karki, who is known to be close to Nepali PM Baburam Bhattarai did not want to comment on the reasons for the delay on part of New Delhi, but told DNA “it could affect India-Nepal relations.”

He said, “The decision to nominate me was endorsed by a parliamentary committee. It’s not my private matter. The fact that I supported some groups in India cannot be a good excuse. I am a politburo member. And if India has recognised the Nepali government, there is no reason why they should have objection to me.”

But, he added, “whatever the reasons for delay, this is not good for India-Nepal relations.”

Karki is seen as an ultra-left leader in India and has had a long standing association with the movement for Gorkhaland. He was arrested in 2002 by Delhi Police’s Special Cell, along with some other activists, when he was reportedly holding a meeting in New Delhi.

Also, his wife is an Indian who is reportedly holding a government job in Sikkim. Karki, a senior Maoist leader, is not a career diplomat but was hand picked by Nepalese prime minister Baburam Bhattarai for the job November last year.

“I was arrested at the behest of some civil liberty activists. Special cell had arrested me in New Delhi, but it was some activists who had filed a case against me. The court had subsequently dismissed the case.”

“It was Bhattarai who requested me that since we have good relations with India, and Nepal is passing through a crucial phase, you should take charge of our concerns in New Delhi. So I accepted it,” Karki said. (Source: DNA)

Published Date: Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 | 03:43 AM

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