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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 08:17 GMT
Nepal defiant on military aid cut
Nepalese soldiers
India has been a major source of military assistance
Nepal says it will approach other countries for military supplies if India and the United Kingdom stopped such assistance.

But the Nepalese authorities say they have not been officially told about the move to suspend such aid.

India and the UK announced the move to halt military aid to Nepal after the king took direct control of the government and imposed an emergency.

India is Nepal's biggest arms suppliers providing it much needed hardware.

On Tuesday, India announced that its military supplies to Nepal were on hold.

Earlier Britain said it had suspended a planned $2.5m aid package comprising of vehicles, night flying and bomb disposal equipment.

Nepalese defence secretary Bishnu Dutta Uprety told the BBC that if these threats were carried out Nepal would explore alternate sources of military supplies.

Nepal's King Gyanendra
King Gyanendra's take over has been criticised
He said a final decision would be taken only after the government receives official information from Britain and India.

Although he did not disclose which countries would be approached, media reports have suggested that Nepal could approach its giant communist neighbour China and India's traditional rival, Pakistan.

Maoist threat

Correspondents say external military assistance is crucial to enable the Royal Nepalese army to fight Maoist rebels who have been engaged in a bloody uprising to replace the monarchy with a communist republic.

India and Britain, along with the United States, are key suppliers of military assistance to Nepal.

All three countries have condemned King Gyanendra's move to sacked a multi-party government and suspend civil rights and impose restrictions on the press.

The king has said the move was necessary to tackle the insurgency.

But donors say the royal move would undermine the fight against the rebels and have called for the immediate restoration of democracy and civil rights and the release of opposition leaders who have been detained since the royal takeover.

Some 11,000 people have died since the Maoist uprising began in 1996.

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