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India to send Karan Singh as special envoy to Nepal
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April 18, 2006 16:01 IST

Seeking to build further pressure on King Gyanendra to restore democracy, India decided on Tuesday to send Indian Council of Cultural Relations president Karan Singh as a special envoy to Kathmandu.

Singh is to reach Kathmandu on Wednesday to impress upon the monarch the urgent need to initiate dialogue aimed at reconciliation with political parties.

Singh, MP and former union minister, will visit Nepal as the special envoy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and is expected to meet King Gyanendra, the External Affairs Ministry said. He is also expected to meet leaders of political parties in Nepal, who have been organising widespread protests against the monarchial rule for the last fortnight. The protests have been met with 'repressive' measures by the government.

The decision comes two days after Indian ambassador to Nepal Shiv Shanker Mukherjee met the king and conveyed India's message underlining the immediate need for dialogue with political parties and restoration of multi-party democracy.

Nepal has been witnessing increasing pro-democracy movement over the last fortnight. India and rest of the international community has also been building pressure on the monarch to relinquish power that he seized by removing an elected government 14 months ago.

Expressing 'concern' over the situation in Nepal, Mukherjee asked Gyanendra on Sunday to initiate dialogue with political parties aimed at reconciliation and evolving national consensus.

Dr Singh also held a high-level meeting on Sunday night to review the latest developments in the neighbouring country.

Complete coverage: Nepal

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