New Delhi, June 6: Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee today told Nepali Congress leader Girija Prasad Koirala that arms supplies “were under constant review” after the head of the seven-party coalition against the monarchy in the Himalayan kingdom urged Delhi to suspend supplies to the Royal Nepal Army.
Mukherjee restated the Indian position that was first articulated by foreign secretary Shyam Saran after King Gyanendra dismissed the Deuba government in February. But since then, India had decided to resume supplies that were contracted for by the RNA late last year.
India’s position on resumption of fresh supplies of weapons and munitions ' the RNA is understood to have asked for ammunition, rifles, bullet-proof gear and vehicles ' continues to be ambivalent. Though the army and the defence ministry has, within the security establishment, argued the case for resuming supplies, the official position of the Indian government has not been articulated.
India and Nepal are signatories to an Arms Assistance Treaty under which Nepal can import arms from a third country only with Delhi’s nod. A bulk of the RNA’s arsenal is of Indian origin.
Koirala had a 45-minute meeting with the defence minister this afternoon. He is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi during his visit this week. Koirala is ostensibly here for medical treatment.
Defence ministry sources said Mukherjee told Koirala that India was worried about the situation in Nepal because of the open border it shares. He said Delhi was urging a political settlement that should be evolved with the parliamentary parties and the monarchy.