Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nepal Army needs Indian arms badly

The Himalayan Times Last Updated At: 2011-04-07 12:10 AM
NEW DELHI: High level talks between Nepal and India on security challenges and cooperation concluded in Pune, Maharashtra today.
Officials of both countries will formally sign a minute tomorrow. A 15-member Nepali team was led by Hari Kumar Shrestha, South Asia Division Chief of Foreign Ministry, while the Indian team was led by Satish Mehta, Northern Division Chief of Indian Ministry of External Affairs. Six high level army officials of Nepal also participated. Senior Indian army and police officials are among the Indian delegates.
The Nepali team informed about Nepali Army’s need of arms and ammunition, military hardware, vehicles, uniforms, equipment and advanced training for army officers, said Nepali team member colonel Ashok Narsingh Rana, military attaché at the Embassy of Nepal. “As far as resumption of Indian arms assistance to Nepal is concerned, government of Nepal needs to make a formal request to the Indian government,” Rana said. He said though the Indian government was ready to resume arms supply to Nepal, it wanted to do so only when the government of Nepal makes a formal request. Rana said the Indian government understood well the sensitivity of resuming arms supply at this stage when the peace process was still on. Nepali Army is in dire need of arms and ammunition for its training and other duties including for peace missions, but the government of Nepal has so far shied away from making a formal request to the Indian government for the same due to UCPN-M objection. Rana said details of Indian assistance on security would be discussed in future at higher levels.
Both the teams dealt with aspects of close cooperation including intelligence sharing so that both armies could sufficiently counter security challenges in their territories, said Rana. Asked if the Indian side raised the issue of Nepal being used by forces inimical to India including the issue of fake Indian currency, Rana said the Indian side did not raise those issues. Seizure of huge amounts of fake Indian currency in Nepal in recent years and reports of anti-India elements exploiting the open Nepal-India border to pump fake Indian currency into the Indian market to destabilise the Indian economy have worried the Indian government.

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