US forces in Nepal for joint military exercise
By Surendra Phuyal
KATHMANDU, Jan 13:A team of the US Pacific Command forces is currently in Nepal as part of a joint military training exercise with the Royal Nepal Army soldiers, which will continue for a month beginning next week. A platoon each from both countries will take part in the exercise.
While this is a "kind of a routine, annual exercise" involving the US and the Nepalese soldiers, the exercise has three purposes: to enhance the operational capability of the US Pacific forces; to improve their inter-operability with other forces; and also to increase the tactical efficiency of the host nation, according to Constance Colding Jones, the US Embassy spokesperson in Kathmandu.
Dubbed ‘Joint Combined Exchange Training’, "the exercise also includes some medical trauma and emergency (drills) that may be needed during natural disasters," Jones told The Kathmandu Post. "The exercise is part of our on-going military exchange programme. It’s a business-as-usual kind of thing."
Such an exchange programme, she added, has been going on between the RNA and the US Pacific Command since mid-1990s. The United States has entered into agreements with a total of 25 countries in the Asia Pacific region to conduct such exercises.
The RNA officials, meanwhile, said the US Pacific Command forces comprising of a platoon will partake in the exercise together with a RNA platoon somewhere in central Nepal. "The exercise will start next week," an official told The Kathmandu Post.
The RNA has been involved in similar joint military exercises also with the British Army. Just a few months ago, a joint British Army-RNA combined military exercise for effective disaster management was conducted in Kathmandu Valley.
A few examples of similar exercises forces are, the "Baker Neptune", and "Hold Fast". While the former was conducted once, about nine years ago, the latter was done thrice all in the mid-1990s.
Widely acclaimed for its expertise in various UN peacekeeping operations, the RNA also participated in a multi-platoon training event with forces from the US, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The event was held at the RNA’s Peacekeeping Training Centre, Kavre-Panchkhal three years ago.
One girl dead, four others injured in cross-fire, other details
An eight-year-old girl died and four others were injured, including three of her sisters, in shoot-out between the armed police and Maoists at Dingla in Bhojpur 150 kms southwest of the capital Monday
afternoon, security sources said Tuesday.
Sabina Khawas died instantly and sisters Sharmila, 19, Pramila, 12, Binita,12, and Lal Bahadur Bika, 56, were injured at home in the cross-fire, the same source said. The injured have been airlifted for
treatment at Dharan. Sabina died immediately of chest injuries.
A platoon each from the US Army and the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) will conduct a routine month long joint military exercise mostly in central Nepal beginning next week to enhance capabilities of the two armies, a spokesman of the RNA said.
The exercise includes handling emergencies during natural disasters. nepalnews.com br Jan.1