From the Nepali Press
www.onlinekhabar.com, 25 January
When Nepal’s civil aviation regulators recently met their Indian counterparts in New Delhi, they were once again asked to allow Indian sky marshals to get off flights that make a nightstop at Kathmandu Airport.
Nepali negotiators reportedly told the Indians they couldn’t decide, and told them to take it up at the highest political level. But they were taken aback when the Indian authorities pointed out a provision in Nepal’s Aviation Safety Guidelines 2016, which allows Indian sky marshals to come to Kathmandu after taking permission from Nepal’s Home Ministry.
Nepali politics is now heating up over this issue. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s ex-comrade Netra Bikram Chandra ‘Biplab’ has accused him of selling out to the Indians. Biplab, who now leads a Maoist faction that says it is preparing for another revolution, has claimed that India wants to send air marshals to Nepal as part of its strategy to keep Kathmandu Airport under its control.
The main opposition UML has also slammed the Dahal government for allowing Indian sky marshals to get off their planes and stay overnight in Kathmandu. But it has been learnt that Nepal’s new guidelines on Indian sky marshals were prepared by the UML government itself when it was led by KP Oli. The Maoists-NC coalition just endorsed it.
After an Indian Airlines plane was hijacked in 1999 and flown to Afghanistan, India has placed air marshals in flights to and from Kathmandu and Indian airports.
Even now, Kathmandu-bound Indian planes have armed sky marshals, but most never get off the plane. However, Jet Airways flights spend the night at Kathmandu airport, and sky marshals on those flights want to get off the plane like the rest of the crew.Go back to previous page