India offers six bullet-proof cars for SAARC summit

 The Indian government has agreed to provide six armoured BMW cars to be used during the upcoming 18th Saarc Summit without levelling a charge and an agreement to this effect was signed in New Delhi Wednesday.

IANS| Updated: Nov 24, 2014, 15:41 PM IST

Kathmandu: The Indian government has agreed to provide six armoured BMW cars to be used during the upcoming 18th Saarc Summit without levelling a charge and an agreement to this effect was signed in New Delhi Wednesday.

Thirty two more non-armoured BMW and Mercedes Benz cars will be hired from India for the summit. Khaganath Adhikari, senior joint secretary and spokesperson of Nepal`s foreign ministry, is in New Delhi to settle the negotiations with Indian officials.

According to e-Kantipur online, these vehicles will ply in Kathmandu for 11 days during the summit which begins Nov 22 with the meeting of the programming committee and concludes Nov 27.

India`s external affairs ministry has coordinated these high-end and medium range vehicles from various Indian firms. Nepal has to pay over Nepali Rs.13.5 million ($136,160) as rent for the 32 medium range vehicles for 11 days, said e-Kantipur quoting Adhikari.

These high-end bullet proof cars will be used by heads of the state/government. Additionally, Nepal has to pay the insurance premium for their drivers.

Initially, Nepal had decided to buy or hire eight high-end bulletproof cars for the summit but due to time constraints, Nepal could not buy them on time. Later, the Indian government came forward for assistance following which Nepal decided to take India`s help, said a senior Nepal government official. During his Nepal visit in the first week of August, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also told his Nepali counterpart Sushil Koirala to seek any help needed for the summit.

"Modi is coming with two bullet-proof cars and the Nepal prime minister has his own. But there was a shortage of six bullet-proof cars which the Indian side is going to provide," said the official.

The visiting heads of state or government will travel in these bullet-proof cars while the rest of the 32 medium-range cars will be used for foreign ministers, representatives from the nine observer nations, spouses of the heads of state or government and other visiting ministers.

Modi is arriving Nepal Nov 25 through Janakpur, a revered Hindu shrine and famous for its Ram-Sita temple. An advance Indian team consisting of security personnel and PMO officials recently visited Kathmandu and inspected the summit venue, the VIP lounge at Tribhuvan International Airport and other venues which Modi will be visiting including Lumbini, Janakpur and Muktinath.