Plane carrying arms to Nepal detained in Gujarat

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Russian-made aircraft carrying sophisticated arms and ammunition to Nepal has been detained in Ahmedabad. The Jana Astha reported that the plane's cargo, which was comprised of rifles, ammunition and anti-aircraft guns, was probably made in Israel. The lack of documents regarding the cargo made Indian authorities suspicious, prompting them to order the aeroplane to land after it entered Indian airspace. The plane, headed for Kathmandu has been on the tarmac at the Sardar Patel International Airport for six days now.

According to reports, the consignment is part of a deal struck between Nepal and the manufacturer of the arms, at a time when both India (the largest supplier of arms to Nepal) and the U.S have suspended military dealings with the King to show their displeasure at his attempts to suppress democracy in his country. India has contacted the Nepalese embassy in New Delhi about this matter

India has long been supplying military equipment to its Himalayan neighbour, that too at a 70% subsidy. Many Nepalese governments however, failed to make payments, thereby resulting in a credit amount of several million rupees. India waived the dues as a goodwill gesture when Nepal's PM Girija Prasad Koirala visited New Delhi this June.