Ram Kumar Kamat
NEW DELHI: Visiting Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Sujata Koirala today met Indian national security adviser Shivshankar Menon and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani and Rajnath Singh.
Emerging from the meeting, Koirala told this daily that she apprised the Indian leaders of Nepal’s current political situation, including the need for a national unity government and the challenges the country was facing to forge a consensus on various contentious issues.
In her meeting with Menon, the foreign minister said she sought India’s help to curb rising crimes across the Tarai belt and stop human trafficking and drug smuggling in the same region.
She added that she also sought India’s help to provide training to law enforcement agencies, including Nepal Police, to enhance intelligence gathering capacity.
“We are far behind when
it comes to intelligence gathering, due to which our law
enforcement agencies fail to
foil unpleasant incidents,” Koirala said.
She drew the attention of the Indian dignitary to the cultivation of cannabis, marijuana and opium in some Tarai districts and urged that India should work in tandem with Nepal to control this evil.
“The entire South Asian region could fall victim to such drugs if it were not stemmed in time,” she said, adding that Menon assured her to lend a helping hand.
In her meetings with BJP leaders, Koirala said she highlighted the need for a national unity government to take the peace process to a logical conclusion.
“The BJP leaders said political stability was needed in Nepal to achieve the goals of economic development and that a unity government was a must to achieve these goals,” she said.
According to a source who was privy to Koirala’s meeting with Singh, the BJP leader advised her that the political parties should live up to the expectations of Nepali people or they might face the same fate as that of the monarchy.
Expressing hopes that Nepali Congress (NC)-led government could prove to be a panacea for Nepal, Koirala anticipated that time has come for the NC to lead the next government.
We might have our differences over who should be the next prime minister, but we are one on other issues of national interest, Koirala concluded.