Nepal govt clears legal hurdles to acquire US rifles

Nepal govt clears legal hurdles to acquire US rifles

Kathmandu: The Nepal government has cleared legal hurdles to buy rifles from the US which has been pending for over a year due to differences over payment modality, according to a media report.

The government would acquire 6,000 rifles, including M4, M-16, and A4 to equip its squads deployed as blue helmets in war-torn countries.

The plan to buy the weapons was delayed after the supplier demanded the entire payment in a single sum, the Kathmandu Post reported.

Despite clearance from the Ministry of Defence to procure the arms from the US Army, it had not materialised since the Nepali side couldn't pay the entire amount before the rifles were supplied.

The Nepal Army was allowed to make the payment only in three transactions: an advance once the deal is signed, intermediate as delivery begins, and the final payment once all the consignment is delivered-before the Cabinet cleared the hurdles for the payment.

However, officials on Thursday said the legal hurdles have been cleared by the Cabinet in a decision made last month.

Now the payment can be made as demanded by the US Army, Babu Ram Gautam, spokesperson for the Defence Ministry, was quoted as saying in the report.

Nepal has 5,076 blue helmets, ranking sixth amongst 127 countries contributing to UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

Andrea De Arment, the US Embassy spokesperson in Kathmandu, said the US government will proceed with the further steps for the supply once the funding is received.

Although both the Nepal Army and the US Embassy refrained from disclosing the amount, an estimated Rs. 2.19 billion will be required to import the modern rifles, the report said.

The Nepal Army acquired the M16 rifles for the first time in 2003 as part of the US government's support to contain Maoist revolutionaries.



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