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Nepal's Koirala is in India For Talks on Maoist Rebels, Economic Aid

Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is in New Delhi, India on his first trip abroad since taking office in April.

Mr. Koirala will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other government leaders during the four-day visit.

Nepalese officials say Mr. Koirala will discuss his government's plan to bring Maoist rebels into the political mainstream, and to hold elections for an assembly that will draft a new constitution.

The Maoist rebels have said they want a constituent assembly to abolish the monarchy and turn Nepal into a republic.

The rebels are also calling on Mr. Koirala to pressure New Delhi into releasing Maoist fighters held in Indian jails. Nepalese Maoists often cross into India to escape from government troops, but many have been detained by Indian police.

The Nepalese leader's visit to India will also cover economic issues.

Nepalese officials say Mr. Koirala will ask India for a big increase in aid to help rebuild infrastructure damaged by the Maoist insurgency. Nepal is expected to seek Indian funding for building hydropower plants and other projects.

India is a key aid donor and supplier of essential goods to land-locked Nepal.

Mr. Koirala took office after weeks of pro-democracy protests forced King Gyanendra to give up absolute power and restore multi-party democracy two months ago.