Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

India to Supply 50 Tanks to Nepalese Army, Train More Officers

Posted by Ka Frank on December 17, 2009

Soviet-era T-72 tank

My Republica, December 15, 2009

India likely to supply 50 phased out tanks to Nepal

KATHMANDU: India, which has decided to resume military aid to Nepal, is likely to supply 50 phased-out tanks at discounted rates. India’s The Telegraph newspaper reported the deal, quoting an unnamed senior Defense Ministry official in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The report said Nepal has specifically asked whether it can acquire 50 tanks from the Indian Army at discounted rates. These are Ajeya T-72 tanks that are being replaced with the Bhishma T-90 in the armored regiments.

Besides the tanks, officer cadets from Nepal will get more seats in the Indian Military Academy and the recruitment of Nepalese Gorkhas in the Indian Army would be increased. The decisions followed talks, Nepal’s visiting army chief, General Chhatraman Singh Gurung, held with Indian security officials in the Indian capital.

On recruitment of more Nepali nationals to the Indian Army, the southern neighbor has proposed to raise an additional battalion that will increase the recruitment from Nepal from the current level of about 1,600 soldiers a year. There are seven Gorkha Rifles regiments in the Indian Army, each with five or six battalions of about 900 soldiers. Gorkhas from Nepal and India are recruited not only in these battalions but also in other regiments such as the special forces (parachute battalions), the newspaper said.

Nepal Army has also enquired whether India can raise the supply of military hardware to the level prevalent nine years back. In 2005, India scaled down its military aid, following the February 1 coup by the then king Gyanendra. But the actual reduction in military assistance had begun in 2001, with the Maoist insurgency intensifying in Nepal.

General Gurung, an alumnus of the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehra Dun who attended the passing-out parade of officer cadets on Saturday, also held talks with the Indian Army’s director-general of military training. He said it was his wish to set up an institution like the IMA in Nepal. At the academy, Gurung visited the room where he had stayed as a cadet. He also spent time in its archives searching for a photograph of himself with the late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, whom he described as his hero.

Gurung was honored with the rank of General in the Indian Army by the President on Monday. He is slated to meet the external affairs minister, the foreign secretary and national security adviser on Wednesday. Gurung’s visit comes close on the heels of an India-Nepal defence cooperation committee meeting in Kathmandu last week.

The Indian Army, the paper said, looks at the demand of the Maoists for “integration” of their PLA troops in the Nepal Army ranks — under the country’s peace accord — with “suspicion”. The delegations of the two armies have exchanged notes on security, with the Nepalese team of the view that the Maoists can present a military challenge yet again.

One Response to “India to Supply 50 Tanks to Nepalese Army, Train More Officers”

  1. Ka Frank said

    India likely to increase subsidy on non-lethal military aid (My Republica)

    KATHMANDU, Dec 21: India has positively responded to Nepal´s request to increase subsidy on sales of non-lethal military hardware to Nepal Army. “India is positive about giving 40 percent subsidy on sales of non-lethal military hardware to Nepal,” a highly-placed source at Nepal Army (NA) told myrepublica.com on condition of anonymity.

    Earlier, the southern neighbor, which is the largest military aid supplier to Nepal Army, provided non-lethal military materials to Nepal on the basis of 70 percent cash and 30 percent subsidy.

    According to sources at the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal had made the request for increasing the subsidy during the three-day meeting of the Nepal-India Consultative Group on Security Issues held in Kathmandu from December 4-6. Officials from both the ministries had attended the meeting. A senior official at the Ministry of Defense told myrepublica.com that India recently expressed its readiness to increase the subsidy as requested by Nepal.

    Nepal has been requesting India to give subsidy in the purchase of lethal military hardware ever since the fifth Nepal-India Consultative Group on Security Issues held in 2006 in Kathmandu, said a source who was involved in the meeting. India had then agreed with Nepal to give 70 per cent subsidy on its sales of non-lethal materials to Nepal Army.

    Even during the meeting of the Consultative Group held in New Delhi in 2007, Kathmandu had requested New Delhi for highest possible subsidy but the meeting had ended even without issuing a joint statement after political issues cropped up in the meeting, said another knowledgeable source on condition of anonymity.

    “Albeit little, this time, India has been positive about increasing the subsidy by ten percent on sales of non-lethal materials,” said another source at the Defense Ministry.

    Nepal has been buying non-lethal hardware like vehicles, communications equipments, and tools, among others, from India. But such supplies have been stopped following the power seizure by then King Gyanendra in February 2005. Though India had agreed with Nepal to resume the supplies of non-lethal materials during the Consultative Group meeting early in December, the date for supplies is yet to be fixed, said the defense ministry source.

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