Nepal and China sign deal on military cooperationThe Chinese government has increased its military support by 50 percent to the Nepal Army for strengthening its capacity in disaster management and for better equipping the United Nations peacekeeping mission.
The Chinese government has increased its military support by 50 percent to the Nepal Army for strengthening its capacity in disaster management and for better equipping the United Nations peacekeeping mission.
Visiting Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel and China’s State Councilor and Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding.
The Chinese government has agreed to provide assistance worth RMB 150 million (Rs2.53 billion) to the NA for a period of five years. The agreement was worth RMB 100 million (Rs 1.69 billion) last year, according to officials at the Defence Ministry.
DPM Pokhrel is on a five-day visit to the northern neighbour for signing the deal, which is a part of the Chinese support to the national defence force in enhancing its capacity on multiple fronts. Former Chinese defence minister Gen Chang Wanquan, while visiting Kathmandu last year, had pledged a grant assistance of Rs3.04 billion (RMB 200 million) for the Army.
Babu Ram Gautam, spokesperson for the Defence Ministry, told the Post that details of the deal have yet to come out. Chief of the Army Staff Purna Chandra Thapa will be visiting Beijing soon to ink a more specific deal on how the support will be delivered to the NA.
In Beijing, DPM Pokhrel highlighted the relations between Nepal and China, stating that the exchange of high-level visits, including by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in June, had elevated bilateral relations by building trust and confidence at the highest political level.
Pokhrel also stressed the importance of cooperation in military training, hardware in humanitarian and disaster management, and medical equipment and peace-keeping operations, and requested for Chinese support in establishing a Defence University in Nepal. Chinese Minister Wei responded to the proposal positively saying that the issue would be taken up in future consultations.
Wei appreciated Nepal’s one-China policy and support on the Tibetan issue, reiterating China’s readiness to strengthen cooperation between the two armies. He also agreed to provide necessary support to Nepal as requested by the DPM.
The bilateral military cooperation that started in 1988 has been expanding gradually, officials said. Nepal is said to be one of the preferred destinations for China’s PLA to conduct jungle warfare and high altitude warfare training.
Pokhrel attended the defence ministerial-level 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum of Defence in Beijing on Friday. He addressed the plenary session on UN Peacekeeping: Challenges and Cooperation.
On Friday, he had meetings also with Vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of China Gen Xu Qiliang.