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India to Help Nepal Fight Maoist Rebels - 2004-09-10

India has agreed to upgrade its security assistance to help Nepal fight an increasingly violent communist insurgency. The Nepalese Prime Minister has made it clear his country cannot quell the eight-year-old Maoist rebellion without India's help.

India's promise to help Nepal includes military hardware and training, and also the commitment to pursue left-wing rebels who are active in India.

Indian media reports say India will provide Nepal with more helicopters, anti-mine trucks, rifles and bulletproof jackets, to battle Maoist rebels who are fighting to replace the constitutional monarchy with a communist state. The rebellion so far has claimed 10,000 lives.

The agreement came during a series of meetings Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba held on the first two days of a visit to New Delhi. He met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a number of his top cabinet members.

New Delhi has also agreed to build a $7 million pipeline from India's northern state of Bihar into Nepal to ensure a smooth supply of oil to the Himalayan kingdom. The pipeline will prevent the landlocked country from being choked by the rebels, who last month cut off the capital Kathmandu by blockading highways.

Despite his plea for assistance, Mr. Deuba told a gathering in New Delhi Friday that his country is determined to end the Maoist rebellion.

"We are fighting the problem of insurgency resolutely and responsibly," said Nepal's Prime Minister. "We will not allow the terror to reign."

The Nepalese leader also assured New Delhi he will curb the activities of foreign anti-India elements.

India has been concerned with what it says is the increasing presence in Nepal of intelligence agents of Pakistan, India's arch rival. Indian officials feel the presence of Pakistani intelligence in India's backyard is dangerous, since India has an open border policy with Nepal.