Sunday, October 19, 2008

New recruiting standards will be set for PLA's entry into army: Defense Minister

Defense Minister and senior Maoist leader Ram Bahadur Thapa has said the members of People's Liberation Army (PLA) will join the national army not under the exiting recruiting standards of Nepal Army (NA) but under new standards set by the yet-to-be-formed special committee.

Speaking at the Reporters Club on Saturday, Thapa said the requirements for joining the national army for PLA men should be changed in view of the current "extraordinary political situation" in the country.

He said that since the modality of 'integration' between NA and PLA is yet to be agreed upon at the political level, his party is ready to discuss all the options involving this issue.

Apart from the national army, the PLA men could also be inducted in Armed Police Force, Nepal Police or the proposed Industrial Force, the minister said, adding that the Maoist party would not force any PLA member to join the army or any particular force.

Thapa also took the opportunity to lash out at the main opposition Nepali Congress and other parties for raising objection to what they describe as the Maoists' bid for a full-scale merger between the NA and PLA. "The views of the parties are against the peace agreement," Thapa said

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