KATHMANDU: What’s rare around the world is quite common in Nepal. Here is one. Security personnel or aides-de-camp often stand too close to the VVIPs that they are always there in most of the pictures splashed on the newspapers or TV clips, especially when the VVIPs like Prime Minister and President meet foreign dignitaries.
A senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says he has seen nowhere in the world such awkward practice of ADCs in uniform standing with VVIPs like President or Prime Minister as they meet foreign dignitaries.
“US President or Israeli Prime Minister are considered among such world leaders whose security is of the utmost concern,” says the official who had once served at Nepal’s embassy in Tel Aviv. “I never saw security personnel standing along the Israeli Prime Minister during formal functions.”
Concerned security officers need to use their discretion while being with VVIPs during formal occasions
— President Ram Baran Yadav’s press adviser Rajendra Dahal
Let alone outdoor events, President or Prime Minister’s ADCs are seen standing just behind them even in functions held at their offices or residences.
A case in point is recent meetings of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
The ADCs were seen standing just behind President Yadav and PM Koirala when they separately received Wang and Swaraj at their respective residences on June 24.
Such uncomfortable scenes were seen during the 18th SAARC Summit in as well. A retired chief of protocol recalled that a visiting foreign leader once suspected if his discussion with Nepal’s then prime minister was being eavesdropped. “Such moment is seen only in military regimes like North Korea or Myanmar,” he added.
“Concerned security officers need to use their discretion while being with VVIPs during formal occasions,” President Yadav’s Press Adviser Rajendra Dahal told THT. “Many of them are self-conscious, some require counselling.”
Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dinesh Bhattarai said he had reminded personal security of the prime minister on many occasions to maintain a certain distance, but they would reiterate ‘security reasons’.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said his attention has been drawn to the matter. “I will inquire about this with concerned agencies in detail,” Pandey told The Himalayan Times.
A special military team — VVIP’s Security — under the command of a brigadier general or colonel is primarily responsible for security of VVIPs, including President, Vice President and Prime Minister. The team is reinforced by ADCs to be deputed from the Nepali Army and forces in civvies deployed from the Nepali Army and the Armed Police Force.
Nepali Army Spokesperson Jagadish Chandra Pokhrel said it was up to the concerned VVIPs and his/her team how much distance the ADCs should maintain during formal occasions. He added that there was no clear direction from the NA as to what how much distance the security staff should maintain.
“The personal security staff cannot stay in such occasion without the consent of VVIPs or at least his/her team of advisers/aides,” Pokhrel told THT. “If any such awkward situation has occurred, it can be discussed and corrected accordingly.”