India lifts ban, supplies military gear to Nepal

Ending an eight-year-old ban on military supplies, India has handed over some of the equipment, vehicles and arms, it had pledged to provide to Nepal ahead of crucial polls to be held next month.

Over 360 vehicles, including 25 mine-protected, have already arrived while arms and ammunition, which are in the pipeline, will come soon, sources in the Nepal Army headquarters said on Wednesday. This is the first time that military equipment is being provided to Nepal by India after ending a ban on the supply of such gear, including lethal arms, that was imposed when former King Gyanendra seized executive powers in February 2005, said a statement issued by army headquarters.

Nepal has said the equipment is needed by 62,000 troops who will provide security for the Constituent Assembly elections to be held on November 19. The country recently amended its Constitution to allow the army to be mobilised to ensure free and fair polls.

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