India to resume military supplies to Nepal after eight years

India to resume military supplies to Nepal after eight years
Kathmandu:  India is set to resume military supplies, including arms and ammunition, to the Nepal Army, after an eight year hiatus, since then king Gyanendra Shah seized power and restricted political freedom.

India has decided to resume defence equipments, mainly logistic supplies and vehicles, as per the request made by Nepal Army, an official at Nepal Army Headquarters' Public Relation Directorate told PTI.

International community, including India, had halted defence supplies to Nepal since then king Shah, who was later deposed, took control of power and restricted political freedom and civil liberties in February 2005.

Most of the equipments are non-lethal such as vehicles, dresses, communication equipments etc, the official said. However, the supplies also include some arms and ammunition required for regular operation of the Nepal Army, the official clarified.

A statement issued by the Indian Embassy on conclusion of Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's day-long visit on Tuesday said, "Following the successful completion of integration of former Maoist combatants into Nepal Army and the decision of the government of Nepal to resume imports of stores and equipment for Nepal Army, these materials, identified in the Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues, will be supplied to Nepal over the coming months."

Nepal has immediately sought Nepali Rupees 1.76 billion or USD 18.33 million worth military supplies from India, according to the statement.

In the past, the Maoists had opposed purchasing any kind of military supplies from India and abroad for the Nepal Army. The Maoists have been saying that, the Nepal Army cannot acquire defence materials until the Peace Process completes as it violates the Comprehensive Peace Accord signed between the Maoists and the then government in 2006.

After nearly six years of negotiations, the Nepal Army has formally inducted 1,352 former Maoist combatants into its force as soon as they completed the basic training course just last week.

Under the defence cooperation between Nepal and India, the two sides would collaborate on military educational exchanges, joint exercises, and supplies of military stores and equipment as required by Nepal Army.

Under the cooperation, Nepal will receive 70 per cent subsidy in the defence purchases after making cash payment of 30 per cent, according to Nepal Army sources.
Story First Published: July 11, 2013 22:35 IST

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