Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
India’s role

Even after the Indian government announced it was reviewing its suspension of military support to Nepal following the king's February First move, it was quietly supporting the RNA. On the day of the announcement, three RNA aircraft engineers and a pilot were on their way to a training program as part of Indian military support. It is true that the guns and bullets were not supplied after the date but by then, RNA had already received enough ammunition. Prior to the king's move, the RNA had actually already made its stance not to buy India-made INSAS (Infantry Small Arms System) rifles (pic) unless they were provided free. Regardless of this, those who know India well were not surprised to hear the change in India's attitude in just three months about its Nepal policy. India definitely wants to modernise the RNA but for its own vested interest: Indian INSAS rifles are considered of such low quality that its own army doesn't want to use it in Kashmir. Even the Indian army assigned in UN peacekeeping tasks don't use the 5.56 calibre INSAS rifles and instead carry AK47s though it doesn't necessarily comply with NATO standards. Nepal has so far bought between 10-15,000 INSAS rifles.

Ultimately, India will lose by cutting off military relations with Nepal. This is why New Delhi, which had forcefully set rollback of February First as its condition, suddenly changed its mind to resume military support without conditions. This happened as a Nepali military team headed to China to discuss purchasing of helicopters, planes and other weapons. India needs to export military hardware and for this it has already established Nepal as a market. India's main intention of military support to Nepal is to ensure that it has the kingdom's support during times of India's need. Long ago, when Nepal asked India to remove its checkposts from the border, the Indian response was that Nepal would not be able to stop the Chinese if they crossed the border. According to a military expert, India is modernising Nepal's army to be a buffer against the Chinese. India has not changed its policy towards Nepal since 1947: as long as its interests are met it will support any regime as is evident from its support to the Panchayat government. In the last three months there have been protests against India by the so-called nationalists of Nepal. Now that India's support will resume and we will have to see whether these same people who often talk about nationalism will also change their position towards India.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)