Nepal army to skip BIMSTEC military exercise in India

The Nepal Army will not participate in the first ever joint military exercise of BIMSTEC (The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) nations in India next week, an aide of Prime Minister KP Oli said on Saturday, amid reports that the political parties in the country have expressed concern over the drill.

The proposal for the joint military drill was first forwarded by the Indian Army in June, followed by an initial meeting of BIMSTEC senior army officials in New Delhi.

Kundan Aryal, press advisor to Mr Oli, told PTI that Nepal will not to join the week-long joint military drill to be held in Pune from September 10.

“Nepal will not take part in the BIMSTEC joint military exercise. This is the official decision of the government,” he said.

Mr Aryal, however, did not give any details but indicated that the concerned ministry may issue a formal statement soon.

The government’s decision came after strong criticism from different quarters, including influential leaders from the ruling Nepal Communist Party, The Kathmandu Post reported.

BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

The military drill was dragged into controversy as no diplomatic or political level agreement was made before deciding to take part in the exercise.

Experts are also objecting to the drill saying there is no advantage to Nepal.