KATHMANDU, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Nepal will not join the first ever joint military drill among the armies of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) members, to be hosted by India next week, an advisor to the prime minister said here on Saturday.
Kundan Aryal, press advisor to Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, told Xinhua that Nepal will not to join the joint military drill to be organized in Pune of the western Indian State of Maharastra on Sept. 10-16.
"Nepal will not participate in the BIMSTEC joint military drill. This is the official decision of the government," he said, without giving details about reasons behind Nepal's decision to skip the military drill.
Official sources told Xinhua on Saturday that the decision was made by the government amid growing criticism from multiple quarters over Nepal's possible participation in the first ever military drill among the armies of BIMSTEC members.
The proposal for the joint military drill was first proposed by the Indian Army in June, followed by an initial meeting of BIMSTEC senior army officials in New Delhi, army sources said here on Saturday.
BIMSTEC, founded in 1997, is a regional bloc grouping India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.