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Trilateral cooperation among China, India and Nepal urged

By  Pradeep Silwal (Xinhua)

13:20, May 23, 2013

KATHMANDU, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Nepal's three former prime ministers have called for a trilateral cooperation among Nepal, China and India in order to hasten economic development in the region.

In exclusive interviews with Xinhua recently, the three former prime ministers, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Puspa Kamal Dahal " Prachanda" and Madhav Kumar Nepal, underscored the importance of trilateral cooperation among the three neighboring countries.

China and Nepal are eager for trilateral cooperation but the Indian leadership appears to be hesitant. The issue gets fresh interest as China's Premier Li Keqiang embarks on a tour of South Asian countries.

The idea of trilateral cooperation was first brought out by Prachanda during his recent China and India visits. But on the eve of Prachanda's India visit last April, Indian Foreign Minister Shalman Skhurshid said the idea of trilateral cooperation is premature, declaring India's unwillingness to work on it.

Asked about the reason for this lukewarm response from Indian leaders, Bhattarai said the reason could be "some historical baggage left behind by colonialism and imperialism, which we all need to throw away."

"But slowly this consciousness is arising in China, India and Nepal. We should learn from the past but we should not dig up old disputes," Bhattarai said.

Bhattarai, who headed a coalition government for more than a year and resigned on March 14 to make way for interim election government, said that all parties must move forward.

"We should resolve old problems and embark on the path of development and prosperity for our people. This is in the interest of both India and China," Bhattarai said.The 59-year-old Maoist ideologue, who came to mainstream politics after a ten-year-long war, said his personal and his party's position is to forget the past and look to the future and have good relations between India and China.

"I believe even in India, this opinion is slowly gaining momentum and soon there will be great moments to have good relations between India and China as well as strengthen trilateral relations among the three countries," Bhattarai said.

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