Nepal has fallen to pro-Chinese Maoist communists.
This has grave implications for near neighbour Bhutan, which has also recently come under Maoist attack.
India, a third of whose territory is plagued by Maoist insurrection, will almost certainly suffer an upsurge of revolutionary violence.
Excerpted from the Australian Marxist-Leninist journal Links
September 3, 2008 — In his first interview since he became Nepal’s prime minister, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” spoke to Rabindra Mishra of BBC’s Nepali Service about the strategies of his new government.
BBC In the past Maoist leaders had vowed not to keep any private property. They handed over their private properties to the party. Now, what will you do to your salary that you will be drawing as prime minister?
Prachanda That (money) will go to the country and the people. It will be deposited in the party treasury. Except some amount for the general upkeep, the salary will be deposited in the party treasury.
BBC Then, how can one be assured of the right to private property under your government when you are yourself are not keeping private property?
Prachanda We do not believe that private property should be abolished. But we believe that the leadership must keep away from making money to ensure that the properties of the people are protected and promoted.
BBC What three things you will do in the next three months that will make a difference to the people?
Prachanda First, a special committee will be announced to facilitate the integration (of the army) and rehabilitation within six months as part of moves to take the peace process to a logical conclusion. Second, the process of constitution making will be expedited in three months. Third, programs to provide immediate and long-term relief will be announced.
BBC Given that the army integration is being seen as a very sensitive issue will you let the current army chief General Rookmangud Katawal complete his tenure?
Prachanda The demand of the time is to exercise maximum restraint. The country will suffer by any move that breeds bitterness at this juncture.
BBC So the suspicions about the army chief being sacked are misplaced? He will not be sacked, will he?
Prachanda That will not happen. As long as everyone including the army, the police and the other officials remain committed to the people’s mandate on democracy, peace and change, no one needs to feel insecure. There will be no prejudice against any.
BBC How will you handle the army integration? The Nepali Army seems to have its own ideas about this. How will you merge your combatants into the national army?
Prachanda Now that I have become prime minister I have been travelling with the army security. I have found a serious commitment and sense of responsibility in the Nepali soldiers. I don’t think that we will face any problem in taking this (integration) process to a conclusion.
BBC Among the 20,000 Maoist combatants in the cantonments, how many will be accommodated into the Nepali Army. What happens to the rest?
Prachanda The PLA combatants who are staying in the cantonments and who have been verified by the United Nations are all eligible for rehabilitation and integration. According to our latest understanding each and every PLA combatant will be given the freedom to choose whether he/she wants to return home or engage in other professions. Therefore, I am not in a position to say how many PLA combatants will be integrated and how many of them will return home.
BBC How long will the ex-King Gyanendra be allowed to stay in the Nagarjuna palace?
Prachanda We are discussing this matter. The cabinet has just been expanded. It will take up the issue soon.
BBC Do you ever feel that you hands are stained with blood?
Prachanda Sometimes in the event of grave mistakes on our part, I was emotional. But what is more important is the great process of transformation and the class, ethnic, regional and gender consciousness which have come about through our movement. So I do not feel the need to repent.
BBC Would you have visited China first if it had not hosted the Olympic Games?
Prachanda Let’s not get into hypothetical questions. Since China is our neighbour and since we could not attend the inaugural ceremony of the Olympics I went there for the closing ceremony. Anyway, it would not have been easier for me to go there first if there had been no Olympic.
BBC Since China is the land of your inspiration Mao Zedong, you must have harboured wishes to travel there?
Prachanda I would be lying if I said no.
BBC You used to claim that different power centres were blocking your ascent to power. Have you defeated those centres now?
Prachanda I cannot use the same language as I am prime minister now. I have said on many occasions that had any other party won the election, nothing would have stopped the formation of a new government within a week. It took four months for us.
BBC There are two schools of thoughts within your party — one favouring the people’s republic and the other favouring the democratic republic. Which one will prevail?
Prachanda That is not the case. There is no illusion within our party regarding our ultimate goal of establishing a socialist communism. However, in the current national and international circumstances, we have decided to move ahead by institutionalising the federal democratic republic.
BBC So, you want to establish a people’s republic by means of the state of the democratic republic?
Prachanda We will definitely attempt to establish a people’s republic by institutionalising democratic republic and through the legitimate means like elections. Once we attain that, we will then work to achieve socialism and communism.
BBC Will there be a people’s republic if your party wins a majority in the next election?
Prachanda Let’s not understand this in a provocative manner. We will definitely try our best to ensure that the new constitution will be as close to the ideal of people’s republic as possible. I believe that the constitution would pave the way for a people’s republic, socialism and communism.
BBC How can it pave the way for communism when you have said there will be guarantees of all kinds of political freedom?
Prachanda We have concluded that socialism without multiparty competition and political freedoms cannot survive. We have learned this from the experiences of Russia and other countries.
BBC What are you talking about, socialism or communism?
Prachanda I am talking about socialism. A lively society can be built only if there are political freedoms and competitions within socialism. Communism is something like a heaven where there is neither a class nor a state nor an army. It will take hundreds of years to reach there.
BBC How long will your government survive?
Prachanda It will continue till the constitution is written and the peace process is completed. I believe our party will win majority, even two-thirds majority in the next election. Then, our government will continue for another five years. We will improve our performance during that period. There will come a situation where people will start thinking that Maoists alone can run this country. In the subsequent election, we expect to win 90 percent votes and we will continue in power for many decades.