Nepal-China to revisit airbus deal

 

A high-level Chinese delegation is soon visiting Nepal to settle an airbus deal pending since five years between the two neighbours. The visit follows a request made by Nepal government some days ago.

Then Royal regime in 2005 had given $390 million in advance to Xian Aircraft Industry Group China for the purchase of two MA-60 turboprops for the use of Nepali Army. The deal, however, was cancelled following the end of the King’s direct rule in Nepal. The new government formed after the Janaandolan-II ruled that the aircraft was not necessary for the Nepali Army. Its argument was that Nepal wants civilian versions of aircrafts instead of military version. But the manufacturing company had claimed a compensation arguing that it had already started working on the military version of the aircraft as per the deal with the Royal regime, a source at Ministry of Defence said.

“Now as the company started demanding the compensation, we have called them to discuss intensely on all available options,” said the source. Meantime, the Nepali Army is pressing the government to purchase the aircraft from China as its 50 per cent aircrafts are grounded.

“Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal is positive about buying them,” an NA source said. Similarly, during her China visit slated for next week, Defence Minister Bidhya Devi Bhandari is likely to raise the issue with Chinese officials. Officials have also readied agenda of Bhandari’s China visit. It is reported that objective of her visit is resuming Chinese military aid to NA.

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