27 March 2017: He is not trying to keep India close to his heart and push China away, Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” has said to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Chinese president held talks with the visiting Nepali PM on Monday afternoon in the Great Hall of the People. During the nearly forty-minute parley, Mr Dahal apparently tried to convince the communist leader that he was still a friend to China, Annapurna Post reported today. According to the daily, PM Dahal told the Chinese president that there was no truth in any rumours that point otherwise.
The former guerrilla leader spent years in or around New Delhi as his diehard fighters fought a pitched battle against the then Royal Nepal Army, Nepali media outlets have reported on numerous occasions. After he became Prime Minister the first time, Prachanda presented himself as someone not afraid to stand up to the southern neighbour. He even copped India’s wrath by visiting China first after assuming office in 2008 (New Delhi is used to being the first of port of call every time Nepal has a new prime minister.) Many understand this as one of the causes of his downfall. His posture, however, has changed over the years.
However, it remains to be seen if Mr Jinping buys Prachanda’s promise of being a good neighbour. Ironically, Nepal’s Maoist party and the party created by none other than Chairman Mao himself, China’s Communist Party, have had a troubled relationship.
“He cannot fool the Chinese,” an Australia-based columnist told southasia.com.au when asked what he thought of report by the Nepali daily. The Nepali Australian’s views represent what ordinary people in the Himalayan nation appear to believe, if one is to rely on the tone of the mainstream media in Nepal. Moreover, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is known have to have pretty good political officers.
Today’s meeting between the two sides also saw the mention of the much-talked about visit of the Chinese president to Nepal. Many in Nepal do not entirely believe that their government has been honest enough to see to it that the visit takes place. The Chinese side have repeatedly expressed their willingness to organise Xi Jinping’s visit.
“China attaches great importance to bilateral ties with Nepal, appreciates Nepal’s adherence to the one-China policy and supports Nepal’s efforts to achieve national progress and development,” President Jinping was quoted as saying in April 2013.