Nepal, India begin security talks
Nepal’s request for supply of arms and military stores and equipment from India was expected to figure prominently in talks on security issues between the two close neighbours that began here on Sunday.
The two-day 11th meeting of the Nepal-India Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues at the Nepal Army headquarters here was expected to reach an agreement on Nepal’s intended purchase of military stores and equipment and weapons from India.
‘The meeting is expected to discuss the procurement of military equipment for training, joint exercises, counter-terrorism action, and information sharing between the two armies,’ the Nepal Army said in a statement. Nepal buys military-related hardware and software from India only.
Joint Secretary Amrit Rai, who looks after India and South Asia at Nepal’s foreign ministry, is leading the 15-member Nepali delegation while Abhay Thakur, joint secretary at the Indian external affairs ministry, is leading the visiting delegation.
Nepal has been buying military-related logistics from India for decades, but former monarch Gyanendra Shah’s 2005 decision to curb all democratic rights led to India stopping supplies of military equipment to Nepal. After the restoration of democracy in 2006, a Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed by Nepal’s ruling political parties and the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-Maoist) the same year that barred Nepal Army from buying lethal and non-lethal weapons until 13,000 Maoist combatants were rehabilitated.
The process of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants concluded last year and the path was cleared for the Nepal Army to buy military stores and weapons from India.
India agreed to resume supply of military equipment, stores and logistic needed by the Nepal Army following a meeting of the 10th Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues in Bangalore.