American Diplomatic Cable: India Stops a Plane Carrying 3,000 American M16A2 Rifles for Nepal Army

Plus, Americans visit 3rd Brigade Headquarters and, in another Cable, invite their SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES to fight Nepali Maoists (below)

2002-12-31 11:26

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 002502

SIPDIS

NOFORN

STATE FOR SA/INS
LONDON FOR POL/REIDEL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2012
TAGS: IN NP PGOV PTER RU
SUBJECT: NEPAL: MILITARY AID RUNS AGROUND ON THE SHOALS OF
BUREAUCRACY

Classified By: Ambassador Michael Malinowski for reasons b,d.

ś1. (C) Summary: Delivery of M16A2 rifles for the Royal
Nepalese Army (RNA), already two months later than scheduled,
was delayed again on December 24 when the Government of India
(GOI) denied overflight permission for the transport plane.
The delay makes the US arms shipment the third in a string of
military assistance packages that have fallen victim to
bureaucratic obstacles on their way to Nepal. Continued
delay in provision of promised military aid is prompting the
Government of Nepal (GON) to look to India and other sources
for an interim solution to its critical equipment needs. End
summary.

BELGIAN AND US SHIPMENTS DELAYED
——————————–

ś2. (C) On December 26, New Delhi DAO was contacted by a
representative from Air Transport International (ATI), a
freight company charged with delivery of 3,000 M16A2 rifles
to Kathmandu, requesting urgent assistance in obtaining
overflight approval for the transport plane. According to
the ATI rep, their commercial agent failed to identify the
plane’s cargo as weaponry in the initial permit application,
resulting in refusal of the request. After direct
intervention with the GOI by Embassy New Delhi, the shipment
of arms, intended to replace the RNA’s outdated Indian
Self-Loading Rifles, has been rescheduled for January 6,
assuming that overflight clearance will be granted.

ś3. (S/NF) In addition, Post was informed on December 31 that
ammunition intended for the “Balance Nail” training team has
also been delayed by red tape. The ammunition was scheduled
to arrive on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok on December
ś31. However, the shipment didn’t arrive in Thailand in time
to make the flight to Kathmandu, and the agreement between
Thai Airways and the GOI concerning hazmat overflight
clearance expires at midnight. The ammunition will have to
be rerouted on the less-reliable Royal Nepal Airlines, and
should arrive on January 3, barring any further complications.

ś4. (U) The US shipments are only the latest in a string of
military aid packages that have been held up by bureaucratic
obstruction on their way to Nepal. Earlier in December, a
plane carrying 500 Belgian Minimi machine guns was diverted
to Kazakhstan when the Eastern European shipping company
failed to meet Indian overflight requirements. Delivery of
the machine guns has been postponed since December 14, while
Nepali and Belgian diplomats in New Delhi sort out the proper
application procedure for overflight clearances for arms.

UK HELICOPTERS STUCK IN BELARUS
——————————-

ś5. (S/NF) Two critically needed MI-17 helicopters promised by
the UK also have been delayed. Our British colleagues,
citing their Belgian purchasing agent, expected the
helicopters to be delivered early in December. Recently they
learned that the Belarussian airframes have not yet been
outfitted with engines and may not be outfitted with them any
time in the near future. British diplomatic sources did not
elaborate on the complications preventing the installation
of engines, but implied that Russian organized crime and
possibly government corruption were the root causes of the
delay. The resulting cost increases, they say, are
threatening to quash the entire deal. The RNA currently has
only one mission-capable MI-17, its only significant
troop-carrying helicopter.

RNA: “US HAS NOT DELIVERED”
—————————

ś6. (S/NF) The RNA is becoming increasingly frustrated with
the inability of the US and other overseas supporters to
provide arms as quickly as needed to counter increasing
Maoist violence. The USG initially planned to deliver 5,000
M16A2 rifles in October 2002, and the RNA has already trained
the units scheduled to receive the weapons. Although the RNA
spokesman has publicly stated that once GOI overflight
applications are processed the army does not expect any
further problems, confidential comments have been less
sanguine. “The US has promised a lot but has not delivered,”
one highly placed RNA officer told the Embassy SAO. “Other
countries such as Israel, the UK, China and India have
stepped up and performed, but the RNA is still waiting for
the US to produce.”

ś7. (C) RNA officials have asserted that they would like to
equip their entire force with M16A2 rifles. In order to meet
their existing critical need for weaponry, however, the RNA
has purchased several thousand inferior Indian Small Arms
Systems (INSAS) rifles and plans to distribute them to three
full brigades while waiting for US M16s. Embassy DATT plans
to meet with the Indian DATT on January 3 to acquire further
details.

COMMENT
——-

ś8. (C) Post does not believe that the current refusal of
overflight privileges by the GOI is part of a conscious
effort to scuttle foreign military assistance to Nepal. The
delay appears instead simply to be evidence that Indian
requirements regarding the overflight of arms are too
complicated for some transport companies to navigate
successfully on the first try. However, while indications
are that the present delay will be temporary and that the red
tape surrounding the US and Belgian arms is slowly
unraveling, Post is desirous to ensure that future shipments
do not meet a similar fate. The convergence of bureaucratic
obstacles and other postponements that have delayed the
delivery of military aid undermines the credibility of the
USG and other military suppliers, and threatens the effective
coordination of international military assistance. And
whatever the cause, failure to provide critically needed arms
and equipment in a timely fashion to Nepal’s beleaguered army
compromises the ability of the GON to combat the Maoist
insurgency and force the rebels to the bargaining table.
MALINOWSKI

2002-11-25 10:16

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 002245

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SA/INS, SA/RA, DS/IP/SA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/24/2012
TAGS: MASS PREL PTER KPAO CASC NP
SUBJECT: U.S. ARMS SALES TO NEPALI ARMY MAKES FRONT-PAGE NEWS

REF: KATHMANDU 2171

Classified By: DCM ROBERT K. BOGGS. REASON: 1.5 (B,D).

ś1. (SBU) Reports on U.S. sales of M-16 rifles to the Royal
Nepal Army (RNA) appeared on the front pages of the November
23 editions of leading newspapers. Disclosure of this
information, apparently leaked by the RNA itself, follows a
November 15 Maoist statement claiming responsibility for the
killings of two Embassy guards and warning that diplomatic
missions working against the Maoists “will not be spared by
our party.” Suggested press guidance follows in Para 4
below. End summary.

ś2. (U) On November 23, the Kathmandu Post, the
largest-circulation English daily, and its vernacular
counterpart, Kantipur, ran front-page reports on U.S. sales
of M-16 rifles to the Royal Nepal Army (RNA). The story,
quoting unidentified “RNA sources,” reported RNA plans over
the next three years to provide every soldier with an M-16.
(Note: A statement in the fourth paragraph of the story,
alleging that a first tranche of 5,000 of the weapons were
received in August, is incorrect. No weapons have yet been
received by the RNA. End note.) The RNA decision to
purchase the rifles is explicitly linked to “escalating
Maoist violence.”

ś3. (C) Comment: Until now, the Embassy has successfully
deflected specific queries from the public and the press
about details of our security assistance to the Government of
Nepal and the RNA. It will be difficult for us to continue
to do so, at least with respect to our sales of M-16s.
Delivery of the first 1,500 may take place as early as
December, with the balance of the delivery in March. The
story follows a November 15 press release from the Maoists
claiming responsibility for the slayings of two U.S. Embassy
guards (both Nepali) on December 15, 2001, and on November 9,
2002 (Reftel). The press release sparked concern because of
its explicit warning that members of the U.S. and other
diplomatic missions “working against the Maoist party or . .
. to destroy the people’s war . . . will not be spared by our
party. . . . We do not have the policy of fighting against
them unless they come to fight with us.” We suspect the
Maoists may well have known the rifles were coming, although
information about exact numbers and delivery dates may have
been sketchy. Now that the story is out, we think it is
important that it be couched in a manner that the USG policy
decision to expand its military-to-military relationship with
Nepal be linked publicly to Maoist terror. At the same time,
we plan to emphasize the unprecedented levels of our
development assistance and note that the arms sales in no way
undercut our previously stated support for a negotiated
resolution to the conflict.

ś4. (SBU) Begin text of suggested, if-asked press guidance:

IF ASKED ABOUT WEAPONS SALES:

–The USG has agreed to sell M-16 rifles to the Royal Nepal
Army. We have provided such rifles in the past for
international peacekeeping.

–This agreement follows a USG policy decision to support the
Government of Nepal in its fight against Maoist terror and
violence against innocent civilians. This violence has
obstructed international development programs–including
decades of US assistance–and severely undermined Nepal’s
economic growth and social welfare.

–Our security assistance to Nepal has expanded in direct
response to the unprecedented expansion of Maoist violence.

–This assistance will include equipment, supplies, and
training, with particular emphasis on human rights training
for Royal Nepal Army soldiers.

–We know that resolving the insurgency will require more
than security assistance. Our government has increased
development assistance to Nepal to the unprecedented level of
almost USD 38 million–more than double the amount of our
security assistance.

–More important than either security or development
assistance from foreign donors is commitment from the
government, the insurgents and the Nepali people to finding a
peaceful resolution to the conflict that upholds
constitutional multi-party democracy.

–We call on the Maoists to cease their campaign of violence
and terror and accept the government’s call for dialogue.

MALINOWSKI

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

2002-11-22 09:56

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KATHMANDU 002223

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SA/INS
LONDON FOR POL – RIEDEL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/2012
TAGS: MARR MOPS MASS PGOV PTER NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: BRIGADE COMMANDER SAYS MAOISTS SLOWLY WINNING

REF: A. (A) KATHMANDU 379

śB. (B) KATHMANDU 1741

Classified By: DCM ROBERT K. BOGGS. REASON: 1.5 (B,D).

——-
SUMMARY
——–

ś1. (C) At a briefing at 3rd Brigade Headquarters in Pokhara
November 20, Brig. Gen. Prakash Basnet told DATT and poloff
he believes the Maoists are “slowly winning.” After making
significant inroads against the Maoists during the first
three months of the state of emergency (late
November-mid-February), the Army has since lost the upper
hand. The insurgents are better organized and more unified
than the Government of Nepal, and are manipulating “weak and
cowardly” elements within democratic society to push for
dialogue. Only the Maoists and the Army are working, in the
Brigade Commander’s view; civilian government functions in
only about 20-30 percent of his area of operation. Basnet
said he lacks sufficient manpower and mobility to defeat the
Maoists and has received no resources to implement Integrated
Security and Development Program (ISDP) projects in his area.
End summary.

———————–
THE VIEW FROM THE WEST
———————–

ś2. (SBU) On November 20 DATT and poloff attended a briefing
offered by Brig. Gen. Prakash Basnet, Commander of the 3rd
Brigade headquartered in Pokhara (approx. 210 km northwest of
Kathmandu). Basnet’s AOR covers more than 39,000 square
kilometers, includes 16 administrative districts, and is home
to 4.6 million Nepalis. The brigade is composed of three
infantry battalions; one engineering battalion; one
headquarters battalion; and seven independent infantry
companies, located at 61 different outposts. (Note:
Independent companies are nearly twice the size of battalion
companies, with 235 soldiers vice 135. End note.)

ś3. (C) Basnet said he believes the Maoists are “slowly
winning” the fight in his area. During the first three
months of the state of national emergency (Nov.
26-mid-February 2002), Basnet used helicopters to deploy his
troops in an aggressive campaign against Maoist insurgents in
the 16 districts in his AOR. The Maoists suffered serious
reverses as a result, Basnet asserted, and much of their
Central and some their Western Commands were shattered. The
tide turned after the Maoist assault on the district
headquarters in Achham on February 17, however, when the
Royal Nepal Army (RNA) began moving its limited air assets to
other priority locations (e.g., the 11th Brigade in Kathmandu
and the Western Division). Without helicopters, Basnet says
he has lost the mobility needed to maintain the offensive
advantage against the insurgents. The civilian government
also failed to provide adequate resources to mount a credible
campaign against the insurgents, he charged. The Maoists
used the monsoon to recruit, retrain and regroup, he
asserted, and are gradually rebuilding their Western Command.
(Note: When asked if the Brigade was receiving more
resources since the King dismissed the previous government,
Basnet said that he had been given wire to build perimeter
defenses. End note.)

ś4. (C) Large portions of his AOR remain under effective
Maoist control, Basnet acknowledged. Only district
headquarters and a few other larger towns are safe. Even the
Chief District Officer (CDO) in Pokhara’s Kaski
District–considered one of the safest in the country–cannot
visit all the Village Devolopment Committees in his
jurisdiction. The rest of the territory–including some
sites with RNA outposts–are dominated by the Maoists at
night. In Baglung District, for example, two of the sites
with RNA garrisons are safe only during the day. When
soldiers enter a town on patrol, the Maoists disappear. At
night, however, when the soldiers return to the barracks, the
Maoists return to the villages. Local government has largely
ceased to function, except in the district headquarters,
according to Basnet. Police have, for the most part, also
withdrawn to locations fortified by the RNA.

ś5. (U) Since the beginning of the insurgency in 1996, the
16 districts in Basnet’s AOR have suffered the destruction
of:

–400 VDC buildings;
–6 telecom repeater stations;
–3 power stations;
–15 schools;
–24 health posts;
–30 banks;
–30 forestry posts;
–24 post offices;
–50 police stations;
–14 state-owned corporation offices;
–30 government vehicles;
–1 bridge.

—————————-
FAULT OF CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT
—————————-

ś6. (C) For Basnet, responsibility for the RNA’s failure to
counter the Maoists thus far lies squarely at the feet of
former democratically elected governments. Self-interested
and corrupt politicians (and, he implied, civil servants)
were not serious about allocating enough sufficient financial
and human resources to fight the Maoists, he alleged. For
example, the Brigade was never given funding to implement the
envisioned Integrated Security and Development Program
(ISDP), even though Gorkha–originally intended to be the
ISDP showcase district–falls within his AOR. Civil servants
do not perform their assigned functions. As an example, he
noted that the RNA brought the bodies of policemen killed in
a Maoist attack in April to the district hospital in
Gorkha–only to find that not one of five government doctors
assigned to the hospital was in town. The bodies eventually
had to be brought to the Brigade headquarters in Pokhara for
post mortems. Basnet estimates that only about 20 to 30
percent of the 917 Village Development Committees (VDCs are
the smallest unit of local government) in his AOR are
currently operating. Only the Maoists and the RNA are
working, he stated, indicating that ordinary people therefore
feel abandoned by their government. “Are we winning hearts
and minds” this way? he asked rhetorically. Intelligence
resources up to the state of emergency were poor, he
contended, because succesesive democratic governments had
been using the National Intelligence Division (NID) as a
repository for party hacks for the past 12 years.

ś7. (C) The Maoists successfully exploit the internal
bickering and tendentiousness commonplace among mainstream
politicians, thereby preventing the development of a strong
domestic political consensus against the campaign of terror,
he said. “We are not united as the Maoists are,” he
observed, adding that the insurgents have successfully
integrated political, military, psyops, and social elements
into their operational campaigns. Even now, he charged, the
insurgents are manipulating “weak and selfish and cowardly
elements of democratic society” into pressing the Government
of Nepal (GON) for dialogue, instead of supporting the RNA in
its fight. The militants have co-opted members of human
rights groups, newspaper editors, teachers, and “the ICRC,”
along with assorted sociopaths and criminals, to promote
their ends, and have highlighted the GON’s continued failure
to address the grievances of “ethnically disadvantaged”
groups, such as Tamangs, Magars, and the lowest castes, for
recruitment purposes. (Some of the 60,000 ex-Indian Gurkhas
now living in the AOR have also provided training and funding
to the Maoists, Basnet said; India has been actively
assisting the GON in helping stop this.) Thus, the Maoists
now “feel the national situation is changing in their favor,”
he concluded.

——————————————-
NEEDS: TRAINED MANPOWER, MOBILITY, COMMO
——————————————-

ś8. (C) “The Maoists know very well our weakness,” Basnet
complained: lack of adequate manpower and sufficient
mobility. Because the Maoists only stay two days in any
given location, RNA troops need to be able to move quickly to
use intelligence on insurgent whereabouts, Basnet said. When
the 3rd Brigade had more helicopters, they were better able
to interdict Maoist movements and training. With only
limited air assets available since the attack on Achham, the
Brigade’s mode has shifted to primarily a defensive one. In
addition, Basnet estimates he needs 14 battalions (he now has
approximately 7) to counter the insurgents effectively. The
troops must be better trained, he added, noting that the
amount of time new recruits spend in basic training has been
cut by two months. Once they graduate from basic training,
recruits and other soldiers receive little on-duty training,
he confirmed.

ś9. (C) The RNA has a 900-officer deficit at the mid-ranks,
and the NCOs are weak, Basnet lamented. Weapons are not the
most critical need when troops lack appropriate fire
discipline, he pointed out. When Maoists launch nighttime
attacks on RNA fixed positions, Basnet said, they typically
use socket bombs, which are only about 50 percent reliable.
In these situations, the soldier forgets his training and,
panicked, will try to fire 300 rounds from one self-loading
rifle (SLR). RNA soldiers will continue firing at an enemy
they cannot see until they run out of ammunition and/or the
weapon jams–which is virtually inevitable under these
conditions, Basnet observed. Once the Maoists determine the
soldiers are indeed out of ammunition, they lead a more
targeted assault to overrun the position. More basic
training with basic weapons and tactics in needed, he
emphasized.

ś10. (C) Basnet cited secure communications as another urgent
need. When Maoists attacked the district headquarters in
Arghakhanchi on September 7 (Ref B), Basnet called in air
support for beleaguered troops on the ground. (As Brigade
Commander, his entire communication resources consisted of
one telephone line and one radio.) But because the
helicopter had no way to communicate with the ground forces,
when it finally arrived, it began firing on RNA positions.
Basnet was, in turn, unable to communicate with the
helicopter pilot, and instead had to call the airport tower
in Kathmandu to contact the tower in Pokhara to pass the
message to the pilot.

———
PLANNING
———

ś11. (C) Basnet, who had just returned that day from meeting
with the Chief of Army Staff, said he was unaware of the
existence of any national campaign plan. He has visited all
of the 61 RNA positions in his AOR, and has moved the
district headquarters in Arghakhanchi (which was overrun in
September) to a more strategic position atop a hill. He does
not believe the development of village militias in
government-controlled areas is a useful concept for Nepal
right now. If the national police cannot even adequately
defend a town–police attacked on November 15 in Gorkha held
out for only 15 minutes, he charged–how can villagers be
expected to?

ś12. (C) According to Basnet, the Maoists plan to surround
all district headquarters (where the RNA maintains fortified
positions). The Maoists have consolidated their previous
three regional commands into two (the Central Command,
according to one captured Maoist document, had supposedly
been infiltrated by “traitors”), and are steadily rebuilding
the loss of trained cadre in its Western Command, Basnet
fears. The militants have written a development plan for
Rukum and Rolpa Districts, Basnet believes, and reported
having seen evidence suggesting Maoists are building a road
in Gulmi District. A document captured recently from a
Maoist detainee also indicates plans to levy a two percent
tax on all government employees; to destroy village-level
infrastructure; to continue a series of nationwide strikes,
or “bandhs,” and to disrupt any plans for local or national
elections.

——–
COMMENT
——–

ś13. (C) Blaming the failures of successive democratic
governments for all the problems of Nepal today–including
the RNA’s inability so far to counter the insurgency–is a
common refrain among Army leadership. Whether the interim
government appointed by the King will succeed in marshalling
more resources for the fight–defense spending had already
risen to an all-time high of about one-quarter of the entire
budget under the previous government of Prime Minister
Deuba–remains to be seen. Basnet’s other comments, however,
constitute a significant departure from standard RNA
briefings, and may have been colored by his bearing
responsibility for the debacle at Arghakhanchi in September
(Ref B). Nonetheless, his assessment that after nearly a
year in the field the RNA has made little headway against the
Maoists–and in some respects has even lost ground–is a
sobering one–and stands in marked contrast to the upbeat
assessment he gave the PACOM assessment team last April.
MALINOWSKI

2003-01-23 04:58

C O N F I D E N T I A L KATHMANDU 000117

SIPDIS

CINCSOC – FOR POLAD ROBERT FITTS FROM THE AMBASSADOR
CINCPAC FOR ADMIRAL FARGO AND COMSOCPAC
USASFC FOR MG LAMBERT
USASOC FOR LTG KESSINGER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2013
TAGS: MASS MCAP PREL PTER NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: AN EXTRAORDINARY TRAINING GROUND FOR U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES
Classified By: AMB. MICHAEL E. MALINOWSKI. REASON: 1.5 (B,D).

ś1. (C) Dear Bob:
I was disappointed to learn that Nepal is not included on
USSOCOM,s High Value Target List. As I understand it, if
Nepal is not on this list, it will be difficult for U.S.
Special Operations Forces to conduct deployments and training
here. I hope I can enlist your support to press for adding
Nepal as a prime potential training ground for U.S. Special
Forces.

ś2. (C) As you know, Nepal has been combating a violent
Maoist insurgency over the past seven years. The insurgents
seek to topple the legitimate Government of Nepal through
force and set up an old-style Maoist dictatorship. The
conflict has grown increasingly brutal and destructive in the
past year, as the insurgents have intensified their struggle
and widened their scope of targets to include public
infrastructure (schools, roads, power stations),
transportation, and innocent civilians, including children.
In many ways, Nepal’s Maoists, who espouse the ideology of
the Sendero Luminoso and the Revolutionary International
Movement (RIM), provide a textbook example of classic,
left-wing domestic insurgencies, while demonstrating violent
tactics on a par with the Khmer Rouge. Also classic is the
Maoists’ anti-Americanism, which continues to threaten our
interests and affect the security of our personnel and
facilities in Nepal. In November the Maoist leadership
acknowledged responsibility for the assassinations of two
local Embassy security guards and issued an implicit warning
to our diplomatic mission to cease anti-Maoist activities.
The USG is currently reviewing the possibility of adding the
Maoists to one of its terrorist lists.

ś3. (C) Obviously, continued instability in Nepal, a
struggling, impoverished new democracy wedged between two
huge nuclear powers, could be a recipe for disaster in what
is already a volatile region. It is plain to most observers
that the Government of Nepal will be unable to counter this
insurgency without significant external assistance. In
January 2002 the US Government thus re-oriented its policy
specifically to support the Government of Nepal in its
efforts to combat the insurgency through a combination of
diplomatic efforts, socio-economic aid and security
assistance, including small arms, force protection equipment,
NVGs, and training. The cornerstone of our security
assistance is a planned Counter-Insurgency center to train a
Royal Nepal Army (RNA) cadre that will act as a mobile
training team in Nepal. These military assistance efforts
rely heavily on our ability to employ Special Operations
Forces (SOF), particularly US Army Special Forces. These
professionals are uniquely suited to train the RNA, a
professional, dedicated and disciplined fighting force that I
believe will benefit substantially from the instruction
provided. In return, our Special Forces would gain
invaluable experience in rugged, challenging terrain ranging
from dense jungle to the highest Himalayan Mountains.

ś4. (C) If we continue to exert pressure on the Maoists in
Nepal, I am confident that it will increase the likelihood of
a peaceful resolution to this conflict. USSOCOM forces are
key in this strategy, and to helping transform the RNA into a
modern COIN force in the shortest possible time. I would
greatly appreciate your support and assistance.

ś5. (U) Best regards,
Mike

MALINOWSKI

::::::::::::::::::

2006-03-06 12:38
C O N F I D E N T I A L KATHMANDU 000624

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/INS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2016
TAGS: PREL MASS PTER NP
SUBJECT: CHINA CONFIRMS NO LARGE-SCALE MILITARY SALES

REF: KATHMANDU 404

Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty, Reasons, 1.4 (b/d).

No Major Shipment of Lethal Security Material Coming From
China
——————————————— ————

¶1. (C) In a March 6 discussion, Chinese Ambassador Sun again
stressed that China had decided not to proceed with
large-scale lethal security assistance/sales to Nepal because
India was “so sensitive” about it. Sun added that the
utility of providing the lethal equipment was unclear, in
light of the isolation of the Government of Nepal (GON).

State Counselor Tang’s Upcoming Visit
————————————-
¶2. (C) Sun informed the Ambassador that State Counselor Tang
Jiaxuan would visit Nepal March 16-18. Sun commented that
Tang would go to Lumbini (Buddha’s birthplace), and explained
that the Chinese Embassy was also seeking meetings with
political party leaders. Sun added that China hoped that
CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal would be released from
house arrest; the Ambassador noted that we had been pushing
Home Minister Thapa to release MK Nepal and other political
party detainees. (Note: In a separate March 6 meeting,
Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey worried to the Ambassador
that China had upgraded the level of its delegation and would
be coming with “a certain message.” End Note.) Sun welcomed
the Ambassador’s upcoming consultations in Beijing, and
suggested that the timing was very good, as State Counselor
Tang’s delegation would have just recently returned from
Nepal.

¶3. (U) According to the local press, Nepal and China will
sign two agreements during the Tang visit: one reportedly to
eliminate duties on Nepali exports to China; and the other on
20 million yuan of new financial assistance, as part of an
annual 80 million yuan aid package. The press also reported
that on March 3 Nepal and China concluded the Third Session
of the Nepal-China Third Joint Inspection of Nepal-China
Boundary in Beijing. A Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement
highlighted the finalization of cost-sharing arrangements for
the joint boundary inspection.

Comment
——-

¶4. (C) China appears to continue to share U.S. and Indian
concerns regarding Nepal’s ongoing Maoist insurgency and
political crisis. The additional Chinese pressure on the GON
to reach out to the political parties is welcome.
MORIARTY

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