Prachanda keen on friendly ties with India

Indicating a shift in his anti-India stand, former Nepal prime minister and chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' on Monday said that his party has moved away from the "narrow, feudal nationalism" to "progressive nationalism".

"We are not dogmatic or sectarian, we want to be progressive," he said at the Indian Council of World Affairs, a Ministry of External Affairs backed think-tank. He also held meetings with National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and political leaders D P Tripathi (NCP), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj (BJP).

Prachanda will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday.

Prachanda also pitched for a India-China-Nepal trilateral cooperation, saying that it is his "vision for the future", but added that it will "not undermine or replace the bilateral relations" between India and Nepal.

He said that a few months ago, his party, for the first time, talked about peaceful democratic politics and economic prosperity of Nepal. "Through progressive nationalism, we can create an atmosphere, and develop good relations with India. Without good understanding and relations with India, we cannot prosper," Prachanda said. Prachanda's last visited India as Nepal's PM in 2008.

He said during his China visit last week, he had discussed with the Chinese political leadership about his plan to establish good relations with India.

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