The Nepalese government has refused to cooperate with the United States in security matters via the State Partnership Program (SPP). Kathmandu made the decision to not promote the SPP ahead of a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in mid-July, where he will be accompanied by senior military officials, including Nepal’s army chief of staff, General Prabhu Ram Sharma. Nepal effectively does not want to ruin the delicate balance it has between China and India, the two giants that the country is sandwiched between, by adding the US into the geopolitical equation.
The Kathmandu Post noted that Deuba’s administration has come under intense pressure due to disagreements with Washington over Nepal’s participation in the SPP. At the same time, not only the Nepal Communist Party, the country’s main opposition party, but also the Nepali Congress Party, led by the prime minister himself, has voiced opposition to this type of cooperation with the US.
It is recalled that commander of the US Army in the Pacific, General Charles Flynn, made a four-day visit to Nepal in early June. The arrival of an American general put the opposition on high alert, fearing the development of military ties between Nepal and the US.
At the time, Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, a former education minister and member of the country’s parliament representing the Nepal Community Party, asked the government to inform parliament of the objectives and agenda of its military contacts with the US. Shortly afterwards, Interior Minister Bal Krishna Khand said that the government had no intention of signing an SPP agreement during the prime minister’s upcoming visit to Washington.