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Nepal Army says there is no agreement on SPP


The US Embassy in Kathmandu stated that it had received two proposals from Nepal for the State Partnership Program (SPP) between the Nepal Army and the US National Guard, the Nepal Army issued a statement denying it.

“The Nepal Army has not entered into any agreement or understanding regarding the SPP with the US military or the government and there has been no process to reach such an agreement,” the military said in a statement.

In a statement, the Army stated that “the Nepal Army has always been clear and vigilant in the objective reality that no military partnership should be entered into with anyone in the future, adversely affecting Nepal’s non-aligned foreign policy, unique geopolitical location and strategic sensitivities.” The Nepali government had also claimed in Parliament that Nepal had not proposed a military partnership with the United States.

After the catastrophic earthquake in 2015, US officials claimed that Nepal had expressed interest in participating in the SPP program for the purpose of providing assistance in the areas of humanitarian work and disaster response and training of peacekeepers. Spokesperson of the Nepal Army Narayan Silval said that he was not aware of the decision taken during the tenure of Chief of Army Staff Rajendra Kshatriya.

‘No military alliance’

The US embassy in Kathmandu described the media report as “unofficial” and described the SPP agreement as a “false document”.

The US Department of Defense’s Indo-Pacific Strategy Report 2019 stated that Nepal and Sri Lanka had recently joined the SPP. A senior US embassy official said the SPP was not a military alliance and was not aimed at China.

According to him, even though it was mentioned in the report of the SPP Indo-Pacific Strategy, Nepal had expressed its desire to join the SPP even before the introduction of the strategy.

No comment has been received from the Government of Nepal in this regard.

According to Mikalar, through the SPP, about 90 countries have been cooperating in areas including capacity building for frontline rescuers in the United States.

Stating that the United States had helped Nepal in the Covid epidemic and the catastrophic earthquake of 2015, he said the SPP would be effective in cooperating in such areas. He said there was no connection between the US grant agreement MCC and the SPP, adding that it would be wrong to link the two issues.

‘No need to sign’

During his visit to Kathmandu last year, US Army Pacific Command General Charles A. Flynn met with senior government officials, including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. Although he also discussed the SPP during his visit, Miklar said he had no “pressure or signature” on it.

“Nothing was given at that time. There is no agreement to be signed. The claims are untrue,” he said. He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was important for the United States.
However, he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat President Conte’s government.

What did the government say in Parliament?

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Govinda Prasad Sharma on Wednesday claimed in Parliament that the Government of Nepal has not requested any “State Partnership Program”.

Stating that many international treaties and agreements explain the relationship between states, he said that “no country can be forcibly entered into another country unless it has violated major humanitarian laws.”
US troops can never come to Nepal without Nepal’s permission,” he said.

Opposition of ruling and opposition MPs

Gagan Thapa, an MP from the Nepali Congress, the prime minister’s party, said in Parliament that Nepal could not participate in any partnership involving the Nepal Army.

“We have to work with all our allies, neighbors and powers for the development of Nepal. We will not listen to them saying ‘do this, do that, don’t do that’,” Thapa said. He is also the General Secretary of the Nepali Congress. “We are not going to side with the powers that be on strategic issues.”

He said that it was not only his personal opinion but also what was written in the constitution of Nepal, the lessons learned from history and the decision of his party.

“We have not made a proposal. We have not received a proposal. It is wrong, it is a lie, it is completely wrong. It is just a game to discredit the government,” Sharma said while answering questions raised by lawmakers.

“After the Prime Minister himself said that such an agreement, what the United States wants, Nepal does not, no … in his own way, no, no, no … no, no, no, all the doubts, suspicions, illusions that have arisen on this issue are all closed. . ” Leading opposition CPN-UML MP Pradip Gyawali accused the SPP of trying to push the country into a geopolitical conflict by “not being able to go to the international tribunal and calling a third party to resolve the issue”.

“It took us 12 years to remove a liaison office that was supposed to house the liaison office when the Koshi dam collapsed.” Gyawali argued that the SPP was “a violation of Nepal’s constitution and the balanced, independent foreign policy that Nepal has been pursuing.”

In a statement issued in June 16, the NA Public Relations and Information Directorate have clarified that the Nepal Army has not entered into any agreement or understanding regarding the SPP with the US Army or the government and there is no such process to reach an agreement to that end.

“The Nepal Army has always been clear and aware of the fact that the non-aligned foreign policy pursued by Nepal, the specific geopolitical position of Nepal and its strategic sensitivities should not be adversely affected by any military partnership with anyone,” reads the statement.

While speaking at the meeting of the International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives on last Friday, Chief of the Army Staff General Prabhu Ram Sharma reiterated that Nepal has never been a part of the SPP although the US has been asking Nepal to join the programme since 2015.

“We urged the prime minister to close the SPP chapter once and for all,” said Sharma, adding, “For this, the government should write to the US government because the SPP is not in Nepal’s interest. Let’s get the main opposition also on board on this foreign policy issue and close this chapter permanently.”

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