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Nepal crisis

With the (extended) deadline for concluding a new constitution for Nepal rapidly approaching (28 May), attention is focusing on the internal debates within the Maoists, as the chair of the party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal (“Prachanda”) swings away from the option of “people’s revolt”. A paper put to the Maoists’ politburo by Prachanda on 20 April argued: “As the largest party in Constituent Assembly (CA), we should work to consolidate the progress made so far and move ahead being even more responsibly,” at least until 28 May.

Meanwhile, discussions continue on the most contentious issue in the faltering peace process: integrating ex-guerrillas into the Nepali security forces. Giving ground, the Nepali army is now apparently floating the idea of a separate directorate under the army’s control which would be one-third Maoist and two-thirds army, police and armed police.

The Indian government intervened in the integration debate in late April during Indian foreign minister SM Krishna’s visit to Nepal. Krishna indicated that integration of Maoist fighters in the higher ranks of the army would lead to an unacceptable (to India!) politicisation of the army. During his visit, Krishna had a secret meeting with Nepali army head Chhatra Man Singh Gurung, without the knowledge of the Nepali foreign ministry.

Topics: Nepal