PLA integration into NA key

Kathmandu, August 12:

Maoist leader Barsha Man Pun ‘Ananta’ today said his party was against giving more than one key portfolio — defence, home and finance — to other coalition partners.

“Among the five important ministries — defence, foreign affairs, finance, home and information and communication — we, as the largest party, want to retain three ministries including the defence ministry and share the rest,” Ananta told this daily in an exclusive interview.

Ananta said the CPN-Maoist would try to integrate maximum number of People Liberation Army personnel into the Nepal Army but would not impose its agenda and work in

tandem with the coalition partners.

“During the army integration process, we will follow all the agreements and constitutional provisions and the modalities set by a special committee.”

All parties’ representation would be ensured in the committee, he said, adding that the NC’s fear of Maoists’ monopoly in terms of army integration was unfounded.

Ananta said the major parties would have to set criteria for the PLA’s integration into the NA.

Ananta said, “There are no standard international norms for integrating two armies. Some countries have emphasised on education, others on physical fitness and still others on skills and training. It will be up to us as to which model should be followed.” The CPN-Maoist was open to the issue, he said.

“In the federal structure, we may need to increase or reduce the size of the national army or create different security apparatus. The issue would be decided by the special committee,” he added.

He said the integration of PLA was one of the vital parts of the management of the conflict.

“Only then long-lasting peace will prevail in the country,” he said.

Ananta said the NC, by laying claim to the defence portfolio to join a Maoist-led government, was trying convey a psychological message to the security apparatus that the PLA and the NA were two different entities and that the Maoists were still rebels.

He said his party did not want the NC to stay in the opposition but if it did so, the CPN-Maoist would not be bothered at all.

“We lost the presidential election but we did not feel bad. If the NC loses the Prime Ministerial race, it should not feel bad either,” Ananta said.