POKHARA, April 26: The prospect of India providing support to the Nepal Army (NA) in future has taken a central stage in the four-day Nepal-India Bilateral Consultative Group talks under way in Pokhara since Wednesday.
"The maximum number of agenda items discussed during the talks focused on the kind of support India can provide to NA in the days to come," said a senior security official present during the talks.
The official also informed that the Indian side has expressed willingness to provide more INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) rifles, helicopters and other logistics to NA. "The Indian side that has been providing weapons and logistical support to NA for long time has expressed readiness to provide more support in future as well," he said.
The talks with police officers, however, focused on cross border criminal activities. "Criminals have been using safe havens in the two countries," said the official, adding, nodal officers would be deputed on border areas to curb cross-border crimes.
Similarly, the two sides also discussed the issue of deploying Armed Police Force (APF) personnel on Nepal-India border areas.
The eight-member Indian delegation is led by Joint Secretary of External Affairs Ministry (MEA) Akhilesh Mishra.
Similarly, Joint Secretary Dipak Dhital, who heads SAARC and South Asia Division at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), is leading the Nepali delegation in the joint-secretary level meeting. The delegation includes officials from defense and home ministries, and senior officials from Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department.
"Issues ranging from military assistance, border security and curbing of criminal activities, among other issues, are being discussed during the talks," said Dhital.
Altogether 18 officials from Nepali side and nine from the Indian side have been participating in the talks.