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Terrorism & Security

India: How will Maoist gains in Nepal shape two countries' ties?

The Maoist party had a surprisingly strong showing in recent elections. India is worried about the impact on its own Maoist rebel movement, the Naxalites.

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Writing in The Times of India, columnist Swapan Dasgupta Deep said that India's attempts to foster diplomatic ties with Nepal's new leaders would be pointless.

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But other commentators were more hopeful of improved future relations between the two countries.

India's Financial Express reported that India had expressed such a hope during Mr. Mukherjee's meeting with Prachanda . And The Press Trust of India (PTI) news wire reported that the Maoists were in talks with the United States to lose their "terrorist" tag.

Outlook, a leading Indian news magazine, noted that thus far, Prachanda had shown signs of being a sensible and cautious leader.

Indeed, many analysts expect the former rebels to be pragmatic in power, focusing on development. Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries, has suffered from decades of weak governance. The Maoists know that they will be unable to reduce poverty without the support of India, Nepal's main trading partner and the source of its fuel.

The weekly news magazine India Today noted that Prachanda had acknowledged the importance of a cordial relationship with Nepal's big neighbors. He had specifically mentioned the importance of friendly relations with India and China, the paper reported. Because the Maoists could ill-afford to antagonize Delhi, India should seize the opportunity to strengthen ties with Nepal.

Arvind Deo, a retired Indian diplomat, writing in the Economic Times also urged India to play a constructive role in Nepal's future development:

Commentator Anuj Mishra, a Nepali journalist, writing on the Open Democracy blog predicted that India would have little to fear from Nepal's new leaders.

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