India sends special envoy to Nepal

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

India has decided to send Karan Singh as the Prime Minister's special Envoy to Nepal. Singh is scheduled to hold talks with King Gyanendra as well as the leaders of the Nepalese pro-democracy movement, in an effort to end the deepening political crisis in that country.

Nepal has witnessed growing protests against King Gyanendra's decision last year to dismiss the government and assume direct rule. Since then, a seven-party opposition alliance has led nationwide protest demanding that the King immediately hand over power to an all-party government, dismissing King Gyanendra's offer to hold election by April 2007.

Nepal's long and porous border with India poses security concerns for the two countries

The King is also directing a difficult campaign against a Maoist guerilla movement in the countryside.

Singh is a senior diplomat and is also related to King Gyanendra by marriage. India's foreign secretary Shyam Saran is also scheduled to accompany the special envoy. India has long expressed concern over the situation in Nepal, calling for a return to representative government.

Speaking to a television news channel, Singh said "It is not our intention to interfere in the internal affairs of another country but the last thing that we would want is for Nepal to dissolve into chaos because India's vital security interests are involved. Our human interests are involved. There's an open border between Nepal and India and our commitment to parliamentary democracy is there."

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