Jul 11 2013, 5:46am CDT | by Luigi Lugmayr
Kathmandu, July 11 — India is to resume all kinds of military supplies, including lethal and non-lethal weapons, to Nepal Army (NA) after an eight-year hiatus that was triggered by deposed king Gyanendra Shah restricting democratic and civil liberties.
The military supplies were suspended since 2005 after deposed king Gyanendra Shah took over the executive power and restricted the democratic and civil liberties in Nepal. In opposition to the move, India decided to suspend all kinds of military aid to Nepal.
A fact sheet on India-Nepal partnership released after the July 9 visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to Nepal said: "Following the successful completion of integration of former Maoist combatants into NA and the decision of the government of Nepal to resume imports of stores and equipment for NA, these materials, identified in the Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues, will be supplied to Nepal over the coming months."
The Maoists have been opposing purchasing any kind of military stores for the Nepal Army till the integration of Maoist combatants with the army.
Some clauses of a 2006 pact signed between the then Nepali state and the Maoists also barred purchasing the ministry equipment for the army.
After years of negotiations, the Nepali state and Maoist party finally inducted 1,352 former Maoist combatants into Nepal Army who completed their basic training just last week.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed between the then seven party-led government and the Maoists Nov 21, 2006, and the Agreement on the Monitoring of the Management of the Arms and Armies (AMMAA) signed Dec 8, 2006, had confined the army to the barracks and barred it from recruiting additional troops and transporting arms and ammunition.
The immediate supplies sought from the Nepali side are valued at more than Indian Rs.1 billion and that includes military education exchanges, joint exercises, and supplies of military store and equipment, said the fact sheet.
Some of them will come as grant and some as loan as 60 percent down payment and 40 percent subsidy, it was agreed between India and Nepal while completing the defence purchase negotiations some months back in Indian city of Bangalore.
Officials from Indian and Nepali foreign ministries and senior army officials from both sides agreed to the resumption of weapons during the meeting of Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues at Joint Secretary level.
A cabinet meeting of Nepal government April 13, after India agreed to resume the supply, decided to purchase regular arms, ammunition and explosives for the NA.
The NA has initially decided to purchase and import 11.132 million cartridges and bullets, 24,166 weapons of various kinds and 81 and 51 mm mortars. The NA will also purchase other military hardware like mines, detonators, safety fuses and time pencils.
On March 15, major political parties of Nepal had removed restrictions put in place by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2006 between the then state and the Maoists in purchasing of arms and ammunition.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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