The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) has written to the Foreign Ministry about the Cabinet’s decision to withdraw from the State Partnership Program (SPP).
Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand, answering on behalf of Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba who also oversees the Defense Ministry, has told the National Assembly on Monday that the OPMCM has written to the Foreign Ministry about the Cabinet’s decision.
The Cabinet meeting on June 20 had decided to write to America to end participation in SPP.
Nepal had applied to participate in SPP in 2015 and 2017, and the application was approved in 2019.
The issue had created controversy in recent times with questions being raised about joining the military partnership with National Guard of Utah.
The International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives (HoR) summoned Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba to discuss about the issue on June 19 and decided to again summon him after he did not attend the meeting.
The committee two days earlier had sought all documents related to the State Partnership Program (SPP).
The committee after holding a discussion with Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka and Nepal Army (NA) Chief Prabhu Ram Sharma had directed the government and the Foreign Ministry to provide all related documents.
Minister Khadka had assured the committee that SPP with the US Army will not be moved forward pointing that military agreement related to SPP was not acceptable to Nepal and it would not be continued as it is not in national interest.
“Army and the US Embassy have also said it will not be implemented. I don’t feel it is appropriate to get more naked when PM himself has stated it won’t be implemented. Many things can be revealed if we dig to find out what happened under whose term. There is no meaning of saying your term and my term,” he had added.
General Sharma had conceded that the NA wrote to America for participation in the SPP but argued that merely writing a letter did not mean Nepal must join military alliance.
Producing the letter in the meeting he revealed that the first letter requesting participation was written on October 27, 2015 to seek help in disaster management after the Gorkha Earthquake in 2015.
He had explained that the process for participation in SPP was initiated with permission of the government after national cognizance of the fact that the NA was weak in resources and expertise deeming that it would be difficult to carry out relief and rescue works if a bigger disaster were to strike Nepal.
CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal had said that there would be no joint military exercise with the US Army near the northern borders. The former prime minister and leader of the ruling coalition had also revealed that PM Sher Bahadur Deuba had already assured that there would be no military activities at the northern borders.
“PM has said he will not allow military activities at the northern borders. I am assured by that. Pressure from no country will be accepted. We don’t agree on this agreement,” Nepal had stated.