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From The Nepali Press
Army integration



KIRAN PANDAY
To be a part of the National Army, your combatants need to fulfil certain criteria. What would you term as the criteria?
As far as we understand it, the candidate should be physically fit, healthy and capable of working under harsh conditions. He should be brave and emotionally strong enough to tolerate pain and suffering. The Maoist combatants are battle-hardened. It would be incorrect to say they do not fit the bill. The People's War ended with neither the Maoist army nor the state army winning, but politically we have won. The monarchy has been overthrown and Nepal is now a republic.

After the integration of the armies, do you expect to be the head of both armies? How are you qualified?
My position will be decided by the party and the government. It is a national issue and the state will take responsibility. The cabinet and the CA will decide, and no decision has been made yet. We assert that even after integration, the commanders of the PLA should not lose their positions.

What should be the size of the army?
There are 19,604 PLA soldiers at the moment. Other than those who are injured, handicapped and pregnant, all should be integrated. We also need to think about the 4,008 PLA soldiers who the UNMIN as identified as under-aged and cannot be integrated into the army.

Will integration be completed in six months?
It should be completed because the peace agreement is at stake here. Those who are against integration are against the peace process as well. A process has to be started within three to six months.

But there are voices within the Maoists who say that it is not yet time for army integration.
There isn't a big disagreement within the party. Making the future of the PLA soldiers secure has always been an issue. The talk now is of an economic revolution, and in many areas our revolutionary objectives are yet to be realised. The modality of a federal republic and army integration is yet to be achieved, we have to write the constitution. It is only natural that there are a few disagreements in the party. The whole party is in favour of integration. But we have to understand who is being integrated into whom. Both the armies have to be respectfully integrated.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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