Row over indian arms supplies to Nepal continues

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

KATHMANDU - Despite India denying a media report that it was resuming supplies of lethal arms to Nepal’s army, the row over the issue continued in Nepal with the opposition Maoist party Tuesday lodging an objection with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

The chief of the Maoist party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, Tuesday met the prime minister at the latter’s office, drawing his attention to a report in the Indian media earlier this week that said the Indian government was to resume the supply of lethal arms to the Nepal Army.

Prachanda said it would be a breach of the peace accord of 2006 that saw the Maoists end their 10-year insurgency.

Though the Indian government issued a denial Monday, dismissing the report and saying India has not supplied any lethal equipment to the Nepal Army since 2005, the Maoists remained sceptical.

“The minute the UN exited from Nepal’s peace process, India began sending lethal weapons,” the Maoist mouthpiece Janadisha daily said Tuesday.

Maoist MP and former deputy chief of the party’s guerrilla army, Barsha Man Pun Ananta, said any such arms deal between India and Nepal would be a conspiracy against the people, the daily added.

To fan the row further, reports in Nepal’s media Tuesday claimed that the Nepal Army was buying safety pins for grenades and cups for bullets from India’s Hinduja Group.

A consignment had been ordered from the Hyderabad-based Gulf Oil Corporation Ltd and was due to arrive in southern Nepal, the Kathmandu Post daily said.

However, there was no official confirmation, either from the army or the government.

Nepal’s army had been urging the government to buy ammunition to train its soldiers. However, the peace accord of 2006 says neither the government nor the Maoists can buy arms or recruit personnel till the peace process is completed.

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