Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Armed and ready


The Maoists have been fighting the police for six years and have gained a lot of experience. Now, they may have to face the might of the army?and the army too seems ready to face the insurgents. The army has permission to use long-range heavy weapons like heavy machine guns, mortars, rocket launchers and grenades. In Gorkha district, the army is going to be mobilised in 14 different places. The government has so far sanctioned Rs 50 million for the mobilisation process. The government wants to mobilise the army and carry out development work simultaneously in these Maoist-strongholds. This plan may not be successful?but Rs 50 million has already been diverted from the development budget. The total amount that was sanctioned for this undertaking was only Rs 150 million, and one third of the budget has already been spent, even before any work has begun. Last week a meeting on troop mobilisation was held between the heads of the army, the police and intelligence department.

The army is under the command of the king and will remain so. Many people feel that the mobilisation of the army will not succeed because fissures between different constitutional agencies have already begun to show. The king gave his consent to mobilise the army, but there were questions raised about the plan. These were sorted out with great difficulty.

According to a retired army source, since the army has not been in battle for a long time, it may not be fully prepared to deal with the rebels. He feels that the army should begin with a psychological operation rather than with a tactical move. He believes the army, which has not been used much until now, could be defeated by a force that is battle-hardened. Failure could result if it goes in directly for a tactical war. Therefore, a psychological war has to be fought in the beginning. The army is going to send in battalions to tackle the rebels, while the Maoists have already readied their companies to face the army. The international norm is that one guerrilla can take on 10 army personnel. By this measure, the rebels are going to be many times more powerful than the soldiers. According to sources, the rebels have reached a stage of strategic counter-offensive, which means that they prepared to fight the army.

The rebels seem to have all the information concerning troop mobilisation. One reading among the insurgents is that the army will be deployed to encircle them and the police will then attack.


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


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