Defence minister China-bound

KATHMANDU: Defence Minister Bidhya Devi Bhandari will seek Chinese military assistance in the field of information and communication in talks with her Chinese counterpart in Beijing, a high-level government official said today.

Minister Bhandari today left for China on a five-day official visit. She is leading a five-member delegation, which include Defence Secretary Nabin Ghimire, Bhandari’s press advisor Subash Devkota, Major General of Nepali Army Nepal Bhusan Chand and Brigadier General Pawan Bahadur Pandey.

The government official maintained that resumption of stalled military assistance will be the top agenda of the minister’s visit.

Defence Minister Bhandari’s China trip is the first official one by a Nepali defence minister since the declaration of republic.

Earlier, Ram Bahadur Thapa, Defence Minister during the Unified CPN-Maoist-led government had visited China.

However, the visit was not an official one.

Besides seeking non-lethal military assistance, Bhandari will especially urge the

Chinese government to provide some crucial information and communication equipment for the Nepali Army, a source said.

According to the source, Nepali Army is in need of those equipment to make effective links with its units across the country.

The northern neighbour has given high priority to this visit as it happens to be the first official visit by Nepal’s defence minister after the fall of monarchy in the country, the government official said.

However, Subash Devkota, Bhandari’s press advisor, said the trip is just a goodwill visit and there are no other agendas.

“This is purely a goodwill visit, which aims to strengthen bilateral relationship,” he said.

The Defence Minister, during the visit, will also reiterate Nepal’s one-China policy.

The minister will also reiterate Nepal’s commitment on not allowing its soil to be used for any kind of anti-China activity.