NEW DELHI, JAN 21 – Nepal has renewed its request with the Indian government to provide Nepal Army with ‘essential’ military supplies. However, it was immediately not clear if Kathmandu requested lethal hardware.
A leading Indian daily reported that Nepal has requested non-lethal supplies as well–a contention corroborated by at least one item on the request list, the Lancer attack helicopters.
The Hindustan Times reported on Thursday that Nepal has requested resumption of lethal military supplies too. New Delhi had halted military aid to Nepal in February 2005, immediately after the royal takeover.
According to the paper, the list submitted by the Nepali side also includes lethal military materials like ammunition for 81 mm mortars, 5.56 mm INSAS rifles and 7.62 mm rifles.
Home and Defence Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar refuted claims that lethal supplies were requested.
He said the Nepali side has requested India to provide equipment including Lancer helicopters and mine-protected vehicles. He did not elaborate further. However, interestingly, Lancer helicopters, which are light attack helicopters made in India, are normally used in counter-insurgency operations.
“The Comprehensive Peace Agreement does not allow transporting in lethal weapons,” Gacchadar said.
Major General Daman Ghale, who is accompanying Gacchadar in India, also dismissed media reports that Nepal requested lethal supplies.
“India is positive on providing military equipment that Nepal has been requesting for quite some time now,” Gachhadar told reporters.
The Hindustan Times quoted Indian government officials as saying that New Delhi has already activated the process to supply arms to Kathmandu. It has, however, noted that India is yet to take a final call on the Lancer helicopters, as “it does not want Indian platforms to be used against Nepali people.”by Mahesh Acharya from ekantipur