KATHMANDU, June 1: Defense Minister Bal Krishna Khand said on Wednesday that government has been lobbying with the United Nations for doubling the number of Nepal Army personnel in UN peace keeping mission.
The minister also said that the ministry is expecting positive response from the UN upon the request from Nepal side.
"We want to increase the quota of Nepal Army personal in UN peace keeping mission up to 9,000 by next year, which will be double the current number," Khand said at a press meet held at the minister to inform his decisions.
Nepal ranks sixth among the nations contributing peacekeepers to the UN after Bangladesh and India. If the Nepali peacekeeper numbers are doubled Nepal will become largest contributor nation ahead of Ethiopia.
As many as 4,447 of the total 95,000 Nepal Army personnel have been deployed in UN peacekeeping missions in various 15 war-torn or post-conflict countries. Nepal Army is all set to be deployed in the peacekeeping mission to Libya.
Defense Secretary Shreedhar Sapkota also informed that the government has been lobbying for increasing the number of Nepal Army personnel in the UN peacekeeping missions through its permanent residential mission to the UN.
Nepal government had requested UN Under-Secretary General of the UN Atul Khare to increase the number of Nepal Army in the UN peacekeeping mission last year.
Minister Khand also said that Nepal has started military diplomacy with neighboring India and China for strengthening bilateral relations and enhancing military skills. He was of the view that the diplomacy also includes not allowing Nepali territory to be used against the neighbors.