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Nepal clears legal hurdles to buy arms from US

IANS  |  Kathmandu 

has cleared legal hurdles to import arms from the which has been pending for over a year following the differences over modality, a media report said.

The plan to buy over 6,000 rifles had been delayed after the supplier demanded the entire in a single sum, contradicting the in the country which only allowed payments only in three tranches, said in a report on Thursday.

The Army has long been planning to acquire the M4, M-16, and A4 rifles to equip its squads deployed as Blue Helmets or UN peacekeepers in war-torn

Despite the clearance from the to procure the arms from the US Army, it had not materialised since the Nepali side couldn't pay the entire amount before the rifles were supplied.

The Army was allowed to make the only in three transactions: an advance once the deal is signed, intermediate as delivery begins, and the final payment once all the consignment is delivered-before the Cabinet cleared the hurdles for the payment.

But on Thursday, officials said the legal hurdles have been cleared by the Cabinet in a decision made last month.

"Now the payment can be made as demanded by the US Army," Babu Ram Gautam, for the Defence Ministry, told on Thursday.

As only the US Army produces the three variants of the rifles, the imports will be made on a government-to-government deal without bidding, Gautam added.

The for months tried to convince US authorities to receive the payment in three allotments. It was also on the agenda during Pradeep Gyawali's visit to D.C. last December.

said the procurement process would expedite following the legal clearance. The new procurement is aimed at strengthening the Nepali peacekeepers serving on different UN missions.

With 5,076 Blue Helmets, Nepal stands sixth among 127 contributing to UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

The acquired the rifles for the first time in 2003 as part of the US government's support to contain Maoist revolutionaries. provided around 17,000 sophisticated rifles as per the deal with the in 2002.

The 5.56 mm rifles, which are attached to ammunition belts, can fire 30 rounds within the range of 300 to 350 metres.

quoted Andrea De Arment, the in Nepal, as saying on Thursday that the will proceed with the further steps for the supply once the funding is received.

Although both the and the refrained from disclosing the amount, an estimated 2.19 billion Nepalese Rupees will be required to import the modern rifles.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 14 2019. 11:06 IST