No military pact with US: Nepal Army

Kathmandu: The Nepal Army has refuted reports that it has signed any agreement or understanding regarding State Partnership Programme (SPP) with the US Army or the government, asserting that it would not enter into any such agreement that might jeopardise the specific geo-political situation of Nepal and it defence sensitivity.
“The Nepal Army is always clear with the fact that Nepal cannot enter into any type of military partnership in future keeping in mind the Non-aligned Foreign Policy pursued by Nepal and would not enter into any such agreement that might jeopardize the specific geo-political situation of Nepal and its defence sensitivity,” the army said in a statement on Wednesday.
The US embassy in Kathmandu in a statement also clarified that it has not signed the SPP deal with Nepal.
“The document published by some online media, claiming to be a military deal between the United States and Nepal is fake,” said the US embassy during a press briefing on Wednesday.
“SPP is not and has not ever been a security or military alliance,” it said.
According to the US embassy, Nepal had applied for SPP twice, in 2015 and again in 2017. The “United States accepted Nepal’s application in 2019.”
“Independent of SPP, the US bilateral relationship that has focused on people-to-people connections, including student and professional exchanges, diplomatic engagement, military partnership, trade, and common values remains strong,” it said.
“In the event of natural and other disasters, ranging from hurricanes to earthquakes, floods, and fires, the United States seeks to share the best practices and capabilities of its National Guards the first-line responders,” the US embassy said.
It said the US has consistently worked with the Government of Nepal to provide help to people in crisis most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2015 earthquake.
Meanwhile, Nepal Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand, speaking at the House of Representatives, said that neither Nepal is involved in the SPP in any way nor does it have the intention to do so in the future.
Nepal is not involved in SPP and nor does it have any intention to do so. It cannot be part of any military alliance, clarified Minister Khand, responding on behalf of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, to queries asked in Parliament.
During the discussion on the budget of the Ministry of Defence on Thursday, many Lawmakers had raised questions about the SPP.
They said that the statement from the US embassy and the Nepal Army had raised suspicions and called for clarification over the matter. —PTI

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