Expert for scrapping of Military Secretariat, NSC

Kathmandu, May 8 :

A security expert today demanded that the government scrap the Military Secretariat and restructure the National Security Council (NSC). Addressing an interaction at the Reporters’ Club, Indrajit Rai also challenged a provision in the 12-point understanding between the political parties and the Maoists that calls for UN supervision of the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) and the Maoist-militants.

“Any foreigner supervising the national army is objectionable,” Rai said. Stating that the promotion of an army officer above the rank of Lt Colonel has to be recommended by the Military Secretariat — “which is why the officers are compelled to be loyal to the palace” — Rai said the Secretariat should be scrapped.

“As the NSC, too, consists of persons only in uniform, it is unable to formulate broader national security policies,” Rai said, adding that this ultimately leads to formulation of military doctrine.

“We don’t have a security policy as such, thus the NSC needs to be restructured and experts from various strata — economy, development, foreign affairs, and planners — should be included in the council to formulate a security policy,” Rai said.

He also suggested that all Maoist detainees should not be released immediately as it would “boost the rebels’ bargaining power.” He said a Constituent Assembly may not yield

any result in the absence of proper arms management. “Maoists seem to be seeking a speedy transformation, but if they pick up arms in the event of the Constituent Assembly not bringing in the changes they want, it will be very unfortunate,” he said.

Stating that renaming the RNA is not a ‘big deal,’ Rai said: “The parliament can rename the RNA as the National Army in a simple manner or restructure the whole institution, but what is more important is doing so without bringing down the security forces’ morale.”

He also said mixing the Maoist militants and RNA troops is not a very good idea. “A new unit may be formed to integrate the Maoist militias,” he said.

“The RNA also should not be politicised or made like the police,” he further said.

Sanu Bhai Dangol, a former palace employee, said there will always be a threat of the palace taking over the reigns of the country again until the RNA is under the King. CPN-UML lawmaker Subhash Nemwang said the parliament was committed to scrapping the King’s title of the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Army. “The House of Representatives will take steps to amend the Military Act in order to make the RNA into a national army,” he said.