The Indian PM should meet King Gyanendra
If a high-profile snub was necessary, it was delivered when Manmohan Singh refused to shake-hands with King Gyanendra in Dhaka. King Gyanendra and the rest of the world got the point.
But this week’s Afro-Asian summit in Jakarta gives them a good opportunity to move ahead from the uneasy status quo in bilateral relations. Dr Manmohan Singh would do well to take the opportunity to meet King Gyanendra. And read him the same riot act.
Despite Gyanendra public bravado , it is certain that he is looking for a face-saving (and crown-saving) route out of the current imbroglio. It is within the realm of possibility, and India’s diplomatic capability, to use the meeting to further its own interests in Nepal — primarily, the return to a constitutional rule. Whether or not Gyanendra eventually ends up with his crown intact is a matter for the Nepalese people to decide — India can allow him to return to Nepal with his face intact. Of course, a price needs to be exacted — and that would involve immediate restoration of civil liberties and a time-bound return to constitutional rule.
Ultimately, if India’s goal is to see a stable, democratic Nepal, Gyanendra needs to be compelled to climb down from his high horse. The sooner India gets round to doing this, the better.