Delhi to resume weapon supply to Kathmandu
Visiting Nepalese home and defence minister BK Gachhedar has formally submitted a list of military hardware to India and conveyed Baburam Bhattarai's government request to resume arms and weapons supplies to Kathmandu. Shishir Gupta reports.delhi Updated: Jan 20, 2012 01:33 IST
Visiting Nepalese home and defence minister BK Gachhedar has formally submitted a list of military hardware to India and conveyed Baburam Bhattarai's government request to resume arms and weapons supplies to Kathmandu.
New Delhi on its part has activated the process to supply arms to Kathmandu barring perhaps Lancer counter-insurgency helicopter.
During his meetings with Indian defence minister AK Antony and top officials, Gachhedar apparently gave a feedback of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's whirl-wind trip to Kathmandu last Saturday.
Wen promised $120 million aid to Nepal for police training and border check posts with an eye towards Tibetan refugees.
It is understood that Wen asked Nepal to maintain good relations with India but at the same time asked that Tibetan refugees be handed back to Chinese PLA instead of UN humanitarian bodies like UNHCR in Nepal.
Erstwhile Nepal King Gyanendra had already closed down the Tibetan Bureau office catering to refugees crossing over from Tibet to Kathmandu after he declared emergency in February 1, 2005.
Since then, India has also not supplied lethal weapons to Nepal.
The government sources said while the arms list was handed over to Indian defence ministry on Wednesday by Gachhedar, Kathmandu wants New Delhi to revive the government Ordnance Factory at Sundrijal, 15 kilometers away from the capital.
The Bhattarai government wants Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to repair an advanced light helicopter gifted by New Delhi one-and-a-half-years ago.
Bogged down in the Indian bureaucracy, the ALH is lying in Kathmandu with HAL asking for repair amount.
Given the salience of China in Nepalese calculus, New Delhi wants the grounded chopper to be replaced.
Among other items on the Nepalese list are: mine protected vehicles; ammunition for 81 mm mortar, 5.56 mm INSAS rifle and 7.62 mm rifles.
New Delhi had already geared for deliveries and the arms supplies would be resumed soon.
While Nepal has also asked for the armed Lancer helicopters for its counter-insurgency operations, New Delhi has to take a final call as it does not want Indian platforms to be used against Nepalese people.