India & Nepal Defence Ministers To Meet On Tuesday
Indian Defence Minister A K Antony
The defence ministers of India and Nepal will hold talks in New Delhi on Tuesday. This is the first meeting of its kind after the attempt made by King Gyanendra four years ago to rule his kingdom with the help of the army.
Vidya Bhandari, the new defence minister in the Communist-headed government of Nepal, left for the Indian capital on Monday on a six-day visit during which she will also be undergoing medical tests at the Apollo Hospital, the minister's secretariat in Kathmandu said. On Tuesday, she will meet her Indian counterpart, A.K. Antony.
There is an assumption that Bhandari may ask India for resuimg the arms assistance that it had been providing Nepal's army. India armed the Nepal Army with its indigenous Insas group of firearms at a 70% subsidy.
But, the aid was stopped in February 2005 to show concern at King Gyanendra's seizing power through a bloodless coup. While New Delhi resumed non-lethal military assistance even after the fall of the royal regime and the end of the Maoist insurgency, the supply of arms was not started again.
Except for the sole official meeting, Bhandari will be spending the rest of her stay in New Delhi undergoing a checkup. About two years ago, she had been diagnosed with blood cancer but was declared out of danger after a long battle in the same hospital.