Kathmandu: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Wednesday spoke about "certain misunderstandings, misgivings and problems" in Nepal's relations with India but said he will not be discussing these during his visit to New Delhi beginning on Thursday.

India-educated Bhattarai expressed confidence that his four-day maiden visit will pave the way for "warmer relations" between the Unified CPN-Maoist and the establishment in the neighbouring country.

Rejecting the view that there were "bitter relations" between India and his party at present, 57-year-old Bhattarai, the Maoist Vice President and ideologue, said "our relations are already warming up and will become warmer after the visit."

"The dispute within the Maoist party won't be a problem in fostering relations with India," he told a news agency in an interview. "There can be dispute and discussion within the party and we have managed it well."

On Indo-Nepal ties, the Prime Minister said "there are certain misunderstandings, misgivings and problems in our relations in the history. When you have closer relations there are chances of having frictions also, this is the law."

"There is a need to resolve certain issues left (over) by history. There is a need for free and frank discussion to resolve them. So, I don't like to take on disputed issues this time," he said, without elaborating.

His comments came a day after the Maoist party headed by ex-premier Prachanda, who is perceived to have an anti-India bias, said that only economic issues will be discussed during Bhattarai's visit, which will not touch potential "irritants" like an extradition pact and review of the 1950 Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty.

Bhattarai said he will focus on two major areas during the high-level talks in Delhi -- political and security related issues between the two countries and economic cooperation and development.

"My focus will be to foster partnership with India," he said. "The new paradigm of Indo-Nepal relations will be to foster development partnership between the two countries."

On bilateral disputes, the Prime Minister said that authorities from both sides should sit down and work out a mutually agreeable formula.
"At this time, we will take up those issues where there is agreement than those with disagreement," he said.

"As this is basically a goodwill visit, there is no fixed agenda and there will be free and frank exchange of opinions on the entire gamut of Nepal-India relations," he pointed out.

When asked what he expects from policymakers in New Delhi during his visit, Bhattarai said, "I am confident that government and people of India will extend their cooperation for peace and democracy in Nepal."

He dismissed the view that the rift is growing within the Maoist party at the moment. "It is a misconception that the rift is growing. In fact, the gap is going down."

On whether growing differences between the coalition government and opposition parties will affect the peace process, the Prime Minister said "we have been constantly in dialogue with the major political parties on the contentious issues."

"Our differences have narrowed down and soon there will be an agreement on both fronts: the peace process and the Constitution-writing process," he said.

Bhattarai said that a draft Constitution will be ready by the end of November.

(Agencies)