KATHMANDU: Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Chhatraman Singh Gurung on Wednesday said that integration of Maoists’ combatants was a political issue.

“I don’t want to make any comment about it since this is purely a political matter. It’s the matter to be resolved from political level,” General Gurung said. He was responding to questions at a meeting of State Affairs Committee (SAC) of the House today.

When asked about the issue of civilian supremacy, which the Maoists have been raising, the CoAS said, “I’ve clearly expressed Nepali Army’s commitment on the civilian supremacy in my address after I assumed the post of CoAS. The NA has never come out beyond the government’s instruction and order. As we are mobilised by the government’s order, it establishes the fact that we are upholding the civilian supremacy.”

Gurung also denied the charges against NA that injustice, exploitation and suppression were prevalent in the national army. “All you know, discipline is very strictly followed in the army. If we fail to maintain discipline, it creates frustration in the army and it ultimately spoils the whole organisation, he said, adding that maintaining the discipline is not workable through humble request in most of the cases.

The army chief also defended allegations against NA and claimed it is disciplined, able and democratic organisation

Talking about the budget paucity for the NA, he urged the lawmakers to visit the NA’s camps to better understand the ground reality resulted due to the lack of sufficient budget.

Defence minister Bidhya Bhandari demanded to review the Comprehensive Peace Agreement-2006 to remove the procedural difficulties faced

by the NA. She said that the

NA was not being able to

hold trainings and equipping the NA with necessary weapons due to the restrictive clauses of the peace accord.

She highlighted the need of increasing the number of NA.

The SAC instructed the minister to provide the document of National Security Policy to the SAC before giving it a final touch. It also directed to make diplomatic attempts to review the agreement between the UN and Nepal about sending Nepali peace-keeping troops. The committee also sought the minister’s initiatives for providing higher posts to Nepali security personnel in UN missions.