KATHMANDU: A day after the Nepali Army (NA) denied its involvement in the United States State Partnership Program (SPP), a request letter written by then Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), now retired, General Rajendra Chhetri obtained by Khabarhub has starkly contrasted the NA claim.
The letter reveals that the NA had requested the United States to involve Nepal in the State Partnership Program (SPP) when CPN-UML Chairperson KP Sharma Oli was the Prime Minister.
It is learned that the Oli-led government, through the Nepali Army, wrote to the US requesting the establishment of a National Guard State Partnership Program (NGSSP) for Nepal.
In a letter obtained by Khabarhub, dated October 27, 2015, and addressed to then US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B. Teplitz, the Nepali Army formally requested the establishment of a NGSSP for Nepal.
This revelation has starkly contrasted the NA’s statement issued on Wednesday, denying Nepal’s involvement in SPP.
The NA on Wednesday said that it had not signed any agreement or memorandum of understanding (MoU) either with the United States Army or the US government in relation to SPP. The NA had even clarified it was not even in the process of reaching any such agreement.
However, today’s (Thursday) expose of the application signed by then Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Rajendra Chhetri, now retired, for USSPP paints the NA in a bad light as a fraudster and lier.
The Nepali Army, at the time, viewed that establishing NGSSP for Nepal was a matter of honor and the request had been authorized by the then government.
“It is firmly believed that this program can promote long-term, enduring and mutually beneficial security relationships to exchange military skills and experience, share defense knowledge, enhance partnership capacity and further mutual security cooperation,” the letter reads.
“It is appreciated that the program can provide support in areas of mutual interest including disaster preparedness and crisis management, aviation logistics, maintenance and safety exchanges, critical infrastructure and natural resources protection, professionalization and Officer/NCO development,” the letter added.
The letter also sought the then US Ambassador’s highest consideration for involvement in SPP.
KP Oli became the Prime Minister for the first time on October 11, 2015. The next day, he was sworn in and took over as prime minister.
At the time when the application was sent, the Minister of Defense had not been appointed and the portfolio of the Ministry of Defense was with then Prime Minister Oli.
However, yesterday (Wednesday), the NA tried to hoodwink the people and the nation about the SPP program through its statement.