Author : Akanshya Shah

Issue BriefsPublished on Apr 17, 2023 PDF Download
ballistic missiles,Defense,Doctrine,North Korea,Nuclear,PLA,SLBM,Submarines

Integration of Maoist Combatants in Nepal: The Challenges Ahead

The integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants remains one of the most critical issues in Nepal's peace process. Although there have been a series of agreements since 2006 to formalise the integration of Maoist combatants, the political parties have failed to agree on the number, modality, age and qualification of the combatants.

On November 22, 2006, seven political parties signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with the former rebel party to rehabilitate and integrate the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fighters into the national security agencies. The CPA also incorporated the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (AMMAA), which details the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist ex-combatants. Following the agreement, the then Nepal government invited the United Nations to verify former fighters and for joint monitoring and coordination. The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) was set up as per Security Council resolution 1740 of January 23, 2007. UNMIN verified over 19,602 combatants who were confined within seven divisional cantonments and 21 temporary satellite camps. However, fewer than 4,000 weapons were impounded.

The CPN Maoist party, which emerged as the single largest political party after the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections of April 2008, could not, however, achieve the task of integration even when the party took over the reigns of power in August 2008. Successive governments too could not resolve the matter by fostering a consensus. Even after the November 1, 2011 peace deal, serious differences on the number of combatants and modality of integration prohibited any substantial progress. The new deal envisaged integration of 6,500 combatants as per the criterion set by the Nepal Army (NA).

The deployment of the army in the Maoist cantonments in April this year put the peace process back on track. Of the 9,705 combatants who had opted for integration in the first phase of categorisation in November last year, 3,129 chose to integrate with the NA by April 19, 2012, the deadline set for the completion of the voluntary retirement process in all the cantonments. The Special Committee (SC) secretariat tally marked 6,576 combatants as having opted for voluntary retirement. They have since been released from the cantonments. Thus, the integration process, which was to be completed within six months of the signing of the CPA, now seems to be gaining momentum.

An early resolution of the problems associated with integration therefore is critical to a stable Nepal.

The views expressed above belong to the author(s). ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.