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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Nepal Maoist's praise for India
By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu

Prachanda said that profit-making could aid development
The leader of Nepal's Maoist rebels, Prachanda, says neighbouring India played a key role in persuading his group to take part in peace talks.

He said that it was India who had encouraged him to make common cause with the parties now making up the government in Kathmandu.

Prachanda also said the entire population of Nepal should be given five years military training.

Both sides clinched a landmark power-sharing deal last week.

Partly pragmatic

India had no official role in last November's talks between the Maoists and what was then Nepal's opposition parties held in Delhi during King Gyanendra's absolute rule.

But Prachanda now says India had long been urging the Maoists and parties to do something jointly, and that without this they probably would not have made common cause.

Maoist rebels
The rebels continue to bear arms

Prachanda was speaking in a wide-ranging magazine interview in which he seemed to show a partly pragmatic, partly hardline view of Nepal's future.

He said he did not believe in a parliamentary republic, but did not elaborate on what system of government he would prefer.

He also said that all citizens should be made to undergo five years military training, creating a vast militia to keep law and order.

But he also spoke of freeing up new resources for development by cutting the government and Maoist armies right back and by abolishing the monarchy - although, as before, he said the monarchy could remain if the people so voted.

The war has encouraged and spread a culture of intimidation and violence

Ironically, Prachanda said Mao Tsung's model for a people's republic could not fulfil modern needs and criticised Stalin for not allowing competition in society.

He even said profit-making by capitalists could aid development.

In last week's landmark accord the Maoists and the new government agreed that the rebels would join an interim government here.

Since then the Maoists have said they will not decommission their weapons beforehand, while the government has been implying that they must.

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