Democratic process must resume, India tells Nepal

New Delhi Nov 13 | Updated: Nov 14 2005, 05:58am hrs
In a strong and unequivocal message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday asked King Gyanendra to take concrete steps for the early restoration of democracy in the Himalayan kingdom with the active involvement of political parties.

Clearly unimpressed with the posturing resorted to by the monarchy, New Delhi made it clear today that the Nepalese king would have to initiate definite steps to engage the political parties in talks. In a meeting that Mr Singh had with King Gyanendra on the sidelines of the Saarc summit in Dhaka, Nepal was told in no uncertain terms that an increase in the democracy quotient in the sub-continent would be to the betterment of the region.

A statement released by the foreign office here on Sunday said, Prime Minister reiterated to His Majesty the importance of restoring multiparty democracy in Nepal as early as possible and the need to take concrete steps in this regard. He said that this would not be possible without the involvement of political parties. During the cordial meeting that lasted nearly 40 minutes, the two leaders agreed on the importance of maintaining and consolidating traditionally close and friendly relations between the two neighbours. u

The Nepalese king, who seized power by overthrowing the elected government on February 1, maintained he was prepared to take steps in this regard. His Majesty conveyed to Prime Minister that he remained committed to multi-party democracy and recognised that this would not be possible without involvement of political parties. He said he was prepared to take steps to bring about the restoration of multiparty democracy with the involvement of political parties as early as possible, the statement issued on Sunday said.

The royal coup had forced India to review its participation in the Saarc summit, leading to its postponement. India has also put on hold supply of military equipment it had offered to Nepal to tackle the Maoist insurgency, maintaining that it will commence only after democracy is restored in Nepal.