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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 September, 2004, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Nepal premier seeks Indian help
Sher Bahadur Deuba with Manmohan Singh
Mr Deuba is looking for India's help
The Nepalese prime minister is holding talks in Delhi where he is seeking crucial support in tackling a deadly Maoist insurgency.

Sher Bahadur Deuba began a five-day visit with a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Nepal is facing a deepening crisis after increased rebel violence in the past few weeks.

India, Nepal's biggest neighbour, has expressed its concern over the violence spilling over the border.

The Nepalese premier held talks on Thursday with Mr Singh and Foreign Minister Natwar Singh.

Nepalese officials say Kathmandu's serious concern over threats posed by the Maoist rebels were conveyed to the Indian leadership by Prime Minister Deuba.

To deal with this challenge, we have to enhance our capability, and India's assistance in this regard has been important
Sher Bahadur Deuba

"Understanding, co-operation and assistance from India have a critical bearing on Nepal's fight against terrorism," Mr Deuba told the Press Trust of India ahead of his meeting with Mr Singh.

"To deal with this challenge, we have to enhance our capability, and India's assistance in this regard has been important."

Mr Deuba is leading a large team of senior ministers and business leaders to Delhi.

Several big businesses in Nepal have shut recently after facing threats from the rebels.

India is also worried at increasing rebel attacks on Indian businesses in Nepal.

Military help

There were reports on Thursday that an agreement had been reached for the state-run Indian oil corporation to build a pipeline into Nepal, ensuring an uninterrupted supply of oil to the country.

Last month, the rebels staged a blockade of Nepal's capital city.

Nepal is also expected to seek more defence supplies for its armed forces to help it fight the rebels.

In the past, India has supplied helicopters and trucks as well as arms and ammunition.

"We need more anti-mine trucks to increase highway patrols because the Maoists have been targeting major highways," a senior Nepalese defence official told Reuters news agency.

"Besides, deliveries have to be quicker."

The BBC's Sushil Sharma says Nepal also expects India to stop the Maoists from using Indian territory for shelter, training and supplies.

The authorities in Nepal say the rebels have taken advantage of the open borders between the two countries.

Economic crisis

The upsurge in violence has hurt Nepal's economy and deepened political instability.

National elections have been suspended for two years.

And last month, the capital, Kathmandu, was disrupted for days after the Maoist-led blockade of major highways leading into the city.

The Maoists have been engaged in an armed struggle since 1996 to replace the monarchy with a communist republic.


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