Power has a curious effect on how revolutionaries think and behave, especially after they acquire it. Often, the realities of running a country mellows them.
Will comrade Prachanda, now Prime Minister of Nepal, change his views as well? This would be uppermost in the minds of his Indian interlocutors as he undertakes his maiden visit to India from Sunday.
As a Maoist leader, he argued for abrogating “unequal” treaties with India. While professing equidistance between China and India, he has been more inclined towards the former.
There are domestic factors in Nepal that may force him to be more friendly with India. While looking for an opening with China in terms of trade and transportation, the distances involved may simply be too great for large-scale commerce with China.
What can India do to tip the balance in its favour? If it lets him go back with “concessions”, it may embolden him against India. If it sends him empty-handed, it would humiliate him and that would propel him in the wrong direction. But within these extremes lies something called carrot and stick. That may work well in his case