Nepal government has cleared legal obstacles to import lethal rifles from the US govt which has been pending for over a year following the variations over payment modality. The try to buy over 6, 000 rifles had been delayed after the provider demanded the entire settlement in a single sum, contradicting the procurement law in the nation which only allowed payments only in three tranches.
The Nepal Military has long been planning to acquire M4, M-16, and A4 rifles to provide its squads deployed as blue helmets in war-torn nations. Despite the clearance from the Ministry of Defence to procure the arms from the US Army, it had not materialized because the Nepali side couldn’t pay the whole amount before the rifles were provided.
The Nepal Army was permitted to make the payment only in three deals: an advance once the deal is signed, intermediate as delivery starts, and the final payment once all the consignment is delivered—before the Cabinet cleared the hurdles for the settlement.
But on Thursday, officials declared the legal hurdles have been cleared by the Cabinet in a final decision made last month.
“Now the payment can be made as demanded by the US Army,” Babu Ram Gautam, spokesperson for the Defence Ministry, informed the Post. As only the US Army produces the three variants of the rifles, the imports are going to be made on a government-to-government deal without bidding.
Andrea De Arment, the US Embassy spokesperson in Kathmandu, stated the US government will proceed with the further steps for the provider once the funding is received.
Even though both the Nepal Army and the US Embassy refrained from disclosing the amount, an estimated Rs 2 .19 billion will be needed to import the modern rifles.
The Nepal authorities for months tried to convince US authorities to receive the payment in three allotments. It was also on the agenda during Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali’s go to Washington DC in December last year.
Nepal Army spokesperson Brigadier General Bigyan Dev Pandey declared the procurement process would expedite following the legal clearance. The new procurement is aimed at strengthening the Nepali peacekeepers serving on various UN missions.
With 5, 076 blue helmets, Nepal stands sixth among 127 nations contributing to UN peacekeeping missions around the world.
The Nepal Army acquired the M16 rifles for the very first time in 2003 as part of the US government’s help to contain Maoist revolutionaries. Washington supplied around 17, 000 sophisticated rifles as per the deal with the Sher Bahadur Deuba government in 2002. The 5 .56mm rifles, which are attached to ammunition belts, can fire 30 rounds within the range of 300 to 350 meters.