The author knows Nepal like few others, being a Gurkha veteran and having trekked 30,000 km of Nepal’s countryside. After a thorough analysis of the structure and capabilities of the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) and the nature of the Maoist threat which it has (somewhat belatedly) been called upon to deal with, his conclusions are clear-cut:
- the RNA, by culture and training a ceremonial adjunct to the royals, has neither the will nor the stomach to fight the Maoists; it must be reinvented and brought under civilian control.
- the Maoists "are republicans first, revolutionaries later".
- fears about Maoist plans for a corridor from Nepal to Andhra are exaggerated.
- Indian arms supplies to the RNA should be resumed on a calibrated basis so as not to give strategic advantage to the Maoists; a pro-India rather than pro-China or pro-Pakistan RNA is in our interest.
Since its publication, an important development has been the 12-point understanding between the Maoists and political parties. The former seems open to a "non-autocratic monarchy", giving up...