A day after withdrawing its participation from the controversial BIMSTEC joint military exercise, Nepali officials decided on Sunday that Nepal will participate as an observer in the drill.
On Friday, following the instructions from Prime Minister KP Oli, the Nepal Army had withdrawn from the military exercise scheduled to kick off in Pune on Monday. Although there has not been an official announcement, three Nepal Army officials who had already reached Pune last week will remain there as observers, the Post has learned.
The Army had approved the schedule to participate in the joint exercise and decided to dispatch a platoon level team to Pune. Newly appointed Nepal Army Chief of Army Staff General Purna Chandra Thapa was scheduled to attend the conclave of the army chiefs of the BIMSTEC member states.
Some Indian newspapers have reported that Nepal ignored the Indian proposal to participate in the BIMSTEC military exercise. One paper, The Times of India, said that Nepal backtracked from its decision because of Oli’s tilt towards China—and the huge uproar within and outside his party.
But Nepal is not the only country that will not be participating in the drill. Thailand is also only joining in the capacity of an observer in the exercise, the paper added.