HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
POKHARA: The ninth meeting of the Nepal-India bilateral consultative groups on security issues kicked off in Pokhara today, with discussions on the first day focused mainly on assistance to the Nepali Army.
According to a participant at the meeting, Nepali officials sought logistic support needed for the army directorate to be formed after the Maoist combatants’ integration, though other topics also figured in the day’s discussions.
“In the three-day meeting, discussions will centre on Indian assistance to the NA, intelligence-sharing to curb crime and terrorism,” informed UN Department Desk chief at the Foreign Ministry, Dipak Dhital, who heads the 18-member Nepali team at the meeting. The discussions also delved into measures to be taken to address challenges arising due to the open border.
It has been learnt that the Nepali side will request the Indian side to give continuity to its present assistance to Nepal as agreed in the previous consultative meeting that took place in India two years ago. The Indian side had stopped providing lethal assistance to the NA after the royal takeover of 2002. “We will also discuss the possibility of its continuity at the meeting,” said a participant at the meeting.
The meeting is to discuss the possibility of securing Indian assistance, including in the form of training and lethal and non-lethal military items, and vehicles to increase the NA’s capability.
The Indian side is learnt to have raised the issue of fake currency trade and possible use of Nepali territory against other countries. Citing the sensitiveness of the meeting, the journalists had been prohibited to make video recordings.
The 18-member Nepali talks team comprises officials from the ministries of Home, Defence and Foreign Affairs. Western Regional police office chief DIG Rajendrasingh Bhandari and other security high level officials were also present at today’s meeting. The nine-member Indian talks team has Akhilesh Mishra, chief of the North Desk, as its chief.