Nepal Defence Minister wants Army recruitment row to be resolved

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Kathmandu, Feb 12 (ANI): Nepal Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa has said that the Nepal Army (NA) had not sought permission from the Defence Ministry before announcing recruitment for over 2,800 personnel.

Addressing the State Affairs Committee of the Legislature-Parliament here on Wednesday, Thapa stressed that the recruitment controversy should be immediately resolved or it could derail the peace process.

"The Army's non-compliance with government orders has raised a new question, "Should the army obey government orders or the government work as per army's instructions," he said.

"According to democratic practices, the army should uphold government's orders whether it is right or wrong. The people and the parliament will penalise the government if it takes wrong decisions," he added.

According to Kantpur, Thapa suggested that all stakeholders to the peace process including the United Nations Mission in Nepal and the Nepal Army must sit together to define controversial clause 5.1.2 of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) signed between the Maoists and the Seven Party Alliance government in November 2006.

Clause 5.1.2 of the CPA states that neither the Nepal Army nor the Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) would recruit additional troops.

The Nepal Army on Sunday completed recruitment of the 2884 non-combatants. It said the recruitment was to fill up the routine annual vacancies and was not aimed at swelling the army ranks.

Relations between the Defence Minister and the Army have soured since December. 24, 2008 after the Defence Ministry ordered the Army to roll back the recruitment process, saying that it violated the Comprehensive Peace Accord. (ANI)

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