India and Nepal are expected to close a massive military deal, including the supply of lethal weapons for the first time in nine years, when officials from both countries meet in Kathmandu next week.
The 11th Nepal-India Bilateral Consultative Group on Security Issues is set to take place in Kathmandu on June 8 and 9, where joint secretaries from respective Foreign Ministries will take a call on NA’s request for the supply of military stores and equipment.
“The meeting is expected to discuss the procurement of military equipment for trainings, joint exercises, counter-terrorism action, information sharing between the two armies, the NA said in a statement. The NA in 2013 had requested India for an immediate supply of arms valued at NRs 1.76 billion.
According to local media reports, the NA is seeking to purchase more than 26,000 weapons of various kinds including several thousand Indian-made Insas rifles; more than 11 million rounds of ammunitions; bomb disposal equipment and explosives for training purpose. Also on the NA shopping list are landmines, detonators, safety fuses and time pencils.
Nepal, last year, began taking delivery of non-lethal military supplies from India after the successful integration of former Maoist combatants into the NA. New Delhi has imposed an arms ban in 2005 after former Hing Gyanendra Shah took over executive powers and restricted democratic and civil liberties.
India will be providing some of the weapons in grant, while some will be on loan after a down payment of 60 percent, NA spokesperson Brig Gen Jagadish Pokharel was quoted as saying by Ekantipur.com. He also said the NA is procuring new weapons to replace the current models, which are mostly outdated, for military trainings and joint exercises.
Forty-five trucks loaded with bullets, bomb disposal items and explosive devices are reaching Nepal within a week, according to Ekantipur.com. Under the non-lethal consignment, the NA had received several hundred vehicles including 35 armoured, 216 light and 154 heavy vehicles. Among the heavy vehicles were 58 trucks with a capacity of 7.5 tonnes.