To set up an Armed Police Force (APF) service at the Tribhuvan International Airport, the Ministry of Home Affairs has submitted a letter to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. A letter to the Civil Aviation Authority under the Ministry of Tourism was submitted by the Home Ministry recommending that the APF unit be included in the international airport master plan.
Home Ministry Information Officer Premlal Lamichhane said there was cooperation to provide APF with an airport security room. Over the ten-year military struggle, the APF had campaigned to hold its structure within the airport. At the same time, an armed battalion was formed on the Sinamangal Authority territory to monitor terrorist operations and provide protection outside the airport. The battalion was subsequently formed as a ‘Disaster Relief Battalion’ after revising the Armed Police Force’s organization and administration report. This news has been derived from Kantipur.
The APF was also pursuing an airport presence, arguing that it was in charge of international border protection. But the involvement of APF inside the airport, after objections by the Nepalese Army, the Nepalese Police, and the Ministry of Tourism. Protecting international boundaries is the seventh of the APF’s 12 directives. Similarly, in the ninth paragraph, it is specified that the Armed Police Force would also be mobilized to safeguard vital infrastructure and systems. APF has been searching for its presence at the airport, focused on these two points.
Before the Armed Police Force’s foundation, former Home Secretary Khemraj Regmi, who was also the coordinator of the ‘Armed Police Formation Recommendation Task Force’ established by the government, said it was essential to create a specially qualified system to monitor terrorist attacks and disaster management. “The main objective of preparing the Armed Police was to monitor terrorist activities, border security, the security of important buildings and establishments, the security of special persons. According to the mandate, APF presence at the airport is essential,” Regmi stated. No military presence should be present. ‘
The House recommended that the battalion be moved to the international airport as soon as a request for eliminating the battalion is rendered during the development of a modern master plan to create necessary facilities inside the international airport. Director-General Rajan Pokharel of the CAAN stated the Home Ministry’s request to hold the armed forces inside the airport. However, he insists there has been no decision. “The topic was also addressed in the National Civil Aviation Security Committee. The committee has formed a sub-committee and filed a report on internal security, but no step has been made to hold the armed forces inside the airport,” Pokhrel said.
The sub-committee has indicated, according to reports, that the APF should not be permitted inside the airport. However, Director General Pokharel refused to comment on the sub-findings. “It is better to communicate only after the conversation in the committee meeting,” Pokhrel said. However, Pokharel said that internal and international terminals, runways, and parking management faced difficulties owing to restricted land due to the growing existence of different government and private facilities within the airport. He said that the resolution would only be made after a thorough discussion, clarification, and other opinions/proposals.
A former APF IGP said the government had set up an armed police force of 12 mandates and that border defense was one of its essential duties. “The protection of the airport is not the duty of the armed forces to take away anyone’s share; it is the mandate given in the act,” he said. The airport is an international border.