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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Nepal Maoists accuse Indian envoy of spying on China

October 14, 2009

Times of India
October 13, 2009

KATHMANDU -- In a breach of diplomatic norms, Nepal's former ruling
party, the Maoists, Tuesday accused the Indian ambassador to Nepal,
Rakesh Sood of spying on China, distorting his visit to a mountainous
district bordering Tibet to inaugurate community welfare projects
funded by the Indian government.

Sood had been on a visit to Mustang, Nepal's northernmost district
that was part of an ancient Tibetan kingdom in the past and shares a
border with Tibet. In the past, after China invaded Tibet, the
Buddhist kingdom's Khampa soldiers loyal to the Dalai Lama had waged
a guerrilla war against the Chinese rulers from Mustang.

Its proximity to Tibet makes upper Mustang a sensitive area where
foreigners need a permit to travel. China remains anxious about
Mustang and in the recent past, the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Qiu
Guhong, had also visited the district.

"A jumbo Indian team including envoy Rakesh Sood arrived in the
mountainous district of Mustang Friday to spy on China in the name of
inspecting the progress of the development projects funded by the
Indian government," Nepali daily Janadisha, the Maoist mouthpiece,
said Tuesday. It also said that the team was in Mustang to assess the
influence of the Chinese government in the area.

However, contrary to the Maoist allegation, there was nothing opaque
about the visit. Last week, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu had
issued a press statement, saying the Indian envoy would be in Mustang
from Oct 8-16. During the visit, Sood handed over two newly
constructed school buildings to the authorities of the Shree Jana
Adarsh Secondary School in Kobang and Shree Jana Shanti Secondary
School in Kagbeni, built at a cost of NRs.3.5 million.

On Monday, the ambassador handed over a newly constructed water tank
for the Shree Mahakaruna Sakyapa Vidyalaya at Lomangthan in Upper
Mustang to the local community. The school is among the oldest
monastic schools and the government of India had earlier provided
grant assistance of NRs.2.5 million for the school building, a
hostel, a monks quarters and teachers' quarters. India has now
provided an additional grant of NRs.10.8 million for the construction
of the water tank as part of the India-Nepal Economic Cooperation
Programme. The programme, with an outlay over NRS 25600 million, runs
more than 350 large and small projects countrywide in Nepal in the
sectors of education, health and infrastructure development.

The ambassador, who was scheduled to go trekking in Mustang after the
handover ceremonies, however cut his visit short and headed for
Kathmandu Tuesday. It was not known immediately if his return was the
fallout of the Maoist propaganda.

Nepal's foreign ministry admitted the propaganda was against
diplomatic norms but said they were helpless to stop it. The Maoists,
despite having led the government for eight months, have kept up a
siege on parliament for nearly four months with the government unable
to resolve the impasse.
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