New Delhi: Army chief General M.M. Naravane will be visiting Nepal next month where he will be conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepali Army in an investiture ceremony, the Nepal Army said Wednesday.
Defence sources told ThePrint the visit is likely to take place in the first week of November.
Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will confer the honorary rank upon Gen. Naravane in the ceremony.
Nepal and India have since 1950 followed the tradition of decorating the chiefs of each other’s armies with the highest Army rank.
The Army chief’s visit to Nepal was supposed to take place on 3 February this year, but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also read: Army chief M M Naravane assesses situation along LoC in North Kashmir
Naravane’s controversial remarks over Nepal
Naravane’s visit is significant as it comes at a time when relations between India and Nepal aren’t all rosy, with Kathmandu releasing a new controversial map in May showing the disputed regions of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani in its territory. India has rejected the map.
Nepal and India are yet to hold border talks over this issue.
In May, when the India-China standoff had begun, Gen. Naravane’s comments on Nepal had stirred a controversy.
He had said Nepal is ratcheting up the Lipulekh border issue at the “behest of someone else”, hinting at a possible Chinese role.
A month later, however, he said India has a very strong relationship with Nepal.
“We have geographical, cultural, historical, religious linkages. We have very strong people-to-people connect. Our relation with them has always been strong and will remain strong in the future,” Naravane said during a ceremony at the Indian Military Academy.
‘Visit to ensure bonhomie between Indian, Nepalese armies’
Soldiers from Nepal form a significant chunk of the 13-lakh-strong Indian Army.
There are also a large number of veterans, who are Nepalese domiciles, and India has pension-paying offices in Nepal, which look after their requirements and pensions.
There are seven regiments of Gorkha Rifles in the Indian Army, each having five to seven battalions comprising both Indian and Nepalese Gurkha troops.
A senior Army officer, who didn’t want to be named, told ThePrint Gen. Naravane’s visit will ensure a continued bonhomie between the Indian and Nepalese armies, and also ensure continuity of strong military cooperation between both the nations.
“Currently, officers and cadets from Nepal come and train in our academies and other training institutes. Joint exercises are also conducted from time to time between the two armies,” the officer added.
Also read: Thoroughbred infantryman, soft-spoken, firm: How officers describe next Army Chief Naravane
This is so ironic. Nepal is claiming a border dispute with India and Nepal gives honorary general to India. Either of them should either withdraw or reconcile.
Comments are closed.