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China, Pak pumping arms into Nepal

Source: PTI
January 23, 2006 00:00 IST
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As India continued its freeze on defence supplies to Nepal, the royal government has started procuring military articles from other countries, including China and Pakistan.

Just a month before King Gyanendra launched repressive measures on political activities in the Himalayan Kingdom, Nepal purchased a substantial quantity of ammunition and grenades from China, official sources told PTI.

As part of the purchase, a consignment of at least 18,000 grenades and 4,000 rounds of ammunition has already been delivered to the Royal Nepal Army, they said.

From Pakistan, the government purchased non-lethal military accessories recently, the sources said.

Unconfirmed reports said Nepal has also procured defence equipment from Israel, the sources said.

Nepal has been traditionally dependent on India for its defence needs as it has been providing it in the form of aid.

In the past, India has supplied military wares worth Rs 450 crore to Nepal.

Sources in the Indian government said China and others were only selling the military ware to Nepal out of business considerations and were not giving aid as India has been doing all along till February 1 when Gyanendra seized power.

New Delhi believes that the king is using such tactics in an attempt to influence change in India's approach, particularly on military supplies, which were frozen.

But India is not perturbed by Gyanendra's tactics as it feels that Beijing will not gain anything by playing into the hands of the king.

"For China, there is no strategic importance in Nepal," the sources said, brushing aside reports about Beijing's growing interest in the Himalayan Kingdom lately.

Pointing out that Sino-India relations had now changed for the better, they said, "Beijing and New Delhi are not competing for space in Nepal."

India, which has maintained that there could be no military solution to the Himalayan Kingdom's ills, feels that the coming weeks would be crucial in the context of assessing which way Nepal is heading.

But with regard to Pakistan, the sources said the ISI continued to be active in Nepal, pumping in fake Indian currency and helping in the growth of madrassas along the Indo-Nepal border.

India is of the view that international community needed to mount political pressure on King Gyanendra to make him restore multi-party democracy.

"The king is competing for power with political parties. He should not do it," the sources said, noting that this had brought the Monarch in direct confrontation with politicians and people.

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