Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Maoist, NC leaders give opposite views on army integration

A senior commander of the Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) has warned of further conflict in the country if the parties fail to merge the two armies - Nepal Army and PLA - as per the peace accord.

Speaking at an interaction programme in the capital Wednesday, deputy commander of the PLA Nanda Kishor Pun 'Pasang' said the process of integration between the two forces would begin within three months and complete in six months. The peace process will not be successful if the two armies are not integrated, he said.

However, Nepali Congress leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat strongly opposed the idea of merger of PLA into Nepal Army saying it would politicise the national army. He threatened that his party would take to streets if the two forces were merged. He claimed the merger of politically indoctrinated militants into the national army is against the prevailing military ethics and practices.

Retired army General C. B. Gurung said serious debate and concrete security policy are required before taking any decision on the future of two armies since the issue is a sensitive one, which is linked with national security.

Another retired Nepal Army General Gopal Singh Bohara suggested leaders to look for alternatives than to merge PLA into national army. However, security expert Indrajit Rai, who is a constituent assembly member representing CPN (Maoist), said there is no alternative to merging two armies if Nepal needs lasting peace.

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