US and India Still on Same Nepal Page

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 003048 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2016 
Classified By: Ambassador David Mulford for Reasons 1.4(B, D) 
1. (C) Summary: Having just returned from Kathmandu, 
Assistant Secretary Boucher related to MEA Joint Secretaries 
Pankaj Saran (Nepal) and S. Jaishankar (Americas) that the 
political parties intended to show progress.  The U.S. would 
wait for the civilian government to issue a formal request 
for military assistance, while an economic and political team 
would visit Nepal within the next two weeks.  Saran agreed 
with Boucher's observations, adding that the GOI wished to 
give the new government time to organize itself before 
processing a "substantial" assistance package.  He suggested 
that the Nepali Government may opt to have an outside entity 
verify the demobilization of the Maoists.  Saran emphasized 
that the Maoists' renunciation of violence and acceptance of 
democratic politics was a "non-negotiable" demand.  Boucher 
highlighted the potential difficulties of working with the 
civilian government on military issues when Prime Minister 
Koirala also holds the Defense portfolio.   End Summary. 
Civilian Politics Messy But Improving, Boucher Observes 
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2. (C) In a May 3 meeting with MEA Joint Secretaries S. 
Jaishankar (Americas) and Pankaj Saran (Nepal and Bhutan), 
Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher related his impressions 
from his May 1-3 visit to Kathmandu.  First, Boucher reported 
that Prime Minister G.P. Koirala was in "decent health, but 
frail."  Second, he related that the political leaders are 
"determined to take action," and feel like they should amend 
the Constitution, allow for constituent assembly and rename 
the army to respond to their constituents.  "They want to 
show progress," Boucher said, adding that they will announce 
a ceasefire and issue an invitation to the Maoists to engage 
in negotiations very soon. 
3. (C) The political leaders also plan on waiting for 
elections until after the Maoists disarm, Boucher stated.  He 
expected that the ceasefire and demobilization, as well as 
the setting up of government institutions, will require a 
"year or two" before they can hold elections.  While people 
have complained that the political parties have already 
started "bickering," Boucher professed that that is like 
"asking politicians not to be politicians."  He described the 
King as "quiet and humbled," but wondered how long that 
attitude would last. 
4. (C) Although they distrust the army, the political leaders 
do not want to disrespect the Army, and they will put the 
Army under civilian control, Boucher asserted.  In the 
meantime, the U.S. would wait to provide training, ammunition 
and supplies until it receives a request from the civilian 
authority.  Boucher reiterated that "civilians don't want to 
do anything against the army now."  The U.S. would also 
provide economic and political assistance, and planned to 
send an assistance team to Kathmandu within the next two 
weeks.  Concluding his observations, Boucher saw the Maoists 
as the biggest factor in whether the political situation 
would break down again.  "It's important that you and we 
exert maximum pressure on the Maoists to disarm -- anything 
to choke off their supplies," he stressed. 
India on the "Same Wavelength" 
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5. (C) Saran endorsed Boucher's impressions, remarking that 
"we seem to be on the same wavelength."  He related that the 
GOI has encouraged the political leaders to take their own 
initiative, and not define their actions by looking to the 
King.  "The actions we've seen indicate that they have the 
inner strength to set up a government that behaves as an 
executive power," he believed.  The forthcoming ceasefire 
NEW DELHI 00003048  002 OF 002 
declaration and talks with the Maoists illustrates that view, 
he said. 
6. (C) Regarding assistance, the GOI had initially considered 
offering an economic assistance package, but held off because 
"it wasn't appropriate right now."  Instead, Saran explained, 
the Indians would wait for the new government to send 
requirements to which they will respond.  This "sizable" 
package will help Nepal address illiquidity and revenue 
shortfall, among other matters.  Saran also endorsed 
Boucher's stance on military assistance, confirming that they 
would also wait for the new government to issue any weapons 
and training requests. 
7. (C) Turning to the Maoists, which he called "the most 
difficult issue for the new government," Saran stressed that 
the GOI wanted to see a "durable" solution, and waited to see 
the steps that the political leaders would take.  While the 
understandings and statements of intent were a promising 
start, Saran observed that "so much lies between these and a 
peace agreement."  The GOI considered renunciation of 
violence and commitment to a multi-party democracy as 
"non-negotiable" in their transition from insurgents to 
democratic party.  Saran noted that while the Nepalese 
government is best positioned to demobilize the Maoists, the 
political leaders may ask for an "external entity" to help 
verify the disarmament and ceasefire.  India would consider 
such a request positively, Saran asserted, noting that the 
call for international supervision was included in the 
parties' 12-point agreement with the Maoists. 
But Nepal Is Still Tenuous 
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8. (C) Boucher pointed out two potential problems that he 
felt could impact Nepal's reconstruction.  First, Koirala's 
position as both Prime Minister and Defense Minister, 
compounded by a lack of civilian interlocutors knowledgeable 
about military affairs, could complicate communicating about 
the army. 
9. (C) Asked by Boucher if India would continue sending 
political envoys, Saran called Karan Singh a "one-off," 
adding that the GOI would revert to the "existing 
institutions" to communicate.  He noted that the Prime 
Minister had invited Koirala to visit Delhi, but that his 
frail health impedes travel.  Millard requested that the GOI 
make its redlines known to the Maoists.  The GOI does not 
have direct face-to-face contacts with the Maoists, but they 
know the redlines through our public statements, Saran 
Comment: U.S. and India Still on Same Nepal Page 
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10. (C) The open and constructive exchange between Boucher 
and Saran illustrate the GOI's intention to continue working 
closely with the U.S. to help the Nepal situation.  The 
frequent U.S.-India coordination has bolstered our ability to 
help rebuild Nepal's democracy and reconstruct its economy, 
while dealing with what will be a tricky Maoist drawdown. 
Continued transparency between both our governments continues 
will boost our joint efforts in Nepal. 
11. (U) Ambassador Boucher has cleared this cable. 
12. (U) Visit New Delhi's Classified Website: 


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