Army chief Gen M.M. Naravane at the Army Day Parade | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
FIle photo of Army chief Gen M.M. Naravane at the Army Day Parade | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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New Delhi: In a U-turn of sorts, Army chief M.M. Naravane Saturday said the relationship between India and Nepal has “always been strong” and “will remain strong in the future”, hours before the Nepal parliament is scheduled to pass a constitutional amendment bill to adopt their new controversial political map in their national emblem.

Last month, General Naravane had stated that Nepal was ratcheting up the Lipulekh border issue at the “behest of someone else and that is very much possible”, insinuating Chinese interference. The Indian Army has been locked in a military stand-off with China near the Line of Actual Control around Pangong lake since 5 May.

“We have 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 at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) Saturday. Naravane was there to attend a passing out parade.


Also read: India silent as Nepal set to amend its Constitution to adopt new map


Army chief’s timing 

The remarks come on a day when the House of Representatives, or Nepal’s lower house of parliament, votes for a bill to amend their Constitution to include the disputed regions of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani in its official map.

The bill seeks to amend Schedule 3 of the Nepalese Constitution to reflect the new map, which shows the disputed territories within its borders.

“The Army Chief had really made an unnecessary comment. I think there is some thinking in New Delhi to settle the matters at the level of the both armies at least while political haggling continues,” said S.D. Muni, member of Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses’ executive council and professor emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“Initially, there were talks that the Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat will speak to Nepal’s defence minister. Nevertheless, the matter now seems settled between the armies. Let the politics take its own course.”

Traditionally, due to close relations between both countries, Nepal follows a norm wherein the Indian Army chief is conferred the title of ‘honorary general’ of the Nepal Army.

ThePrint had reported that owing to Naravane’s earlier remarks, Nepal could this time break away from that long-standing tradition.

Nepal’s Defence Minister Ishwor Pokhrel had called the remarks by the Indian Army Chief an “insulting statement” and said it had “hurt the sentiments of the Nepali Gurkha army personnel who lay down their lives to protect India … It must now become difficult for them to stand tall in front of the Gurkha forces”.


Also read: Won’t accept ‘artificial enlargement’ of territory — India hits back as Nepal redraws map


Nepal’s new map

Once the bill is passed in the lower house, the National Assembly, which is Nepal’s upper house of parliament, will take it up. That process will take another week or so, after which, the map will become permanent in their Constitution.

“The damage has been done, there is no doubt about it. The situation has aggravated since he (General Naravane) made those comments. Nepal’s strategic partnership with China is growing across the board and many of the internal political problems in Nepal is being managed by them that is for sure, but for the Indian Army chief to speak like that did not go down well with Nepali people,” said Vijay Kanta Karna, former diplomat and now professor of political science at Nepal’s Tribhuvan University.

Nepal officially released its new political map on 20 May.


Also read: Mocking Indian emblem, redrawing Nepal map, KP Oli’s adventures are growing


 

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9 Comments Share Your Views

9 COMMENTS

  1. India’s defence exports rise over 5 times in last 4 years

    • According to the DDP dashboard, India’s export of military equipment increased from Rs 1521.86 in FY 2016-17 to Rs 8,620.59 in the last fiscal 2019-20.
    • Increase in India’s defence exports in the last four years has been more than 5-and-half times while the target for FY 2020-21 is Rs 15,000 crore, according to the data updated by DDP on April 14, 2020.
    • Private sector companies have been the biggest beneficiaries of the export orders as per data released by the Department of Defence Production. Their exports have increased from just Rs 194.35 crore in FY 2016-17 to over Rs 8013.65 crore in fiscal 2019-20. On the other hand, export by DPSUs and OFB have come down from Rs 1327.51 crore in FY 2016-17 to just Rs 403.94 crore in fiscal 2019-20.

  2. Halt all acquisitions, armed forces told as Pandemic threatens budget

    • The Department of Military Affairs has asked the three forces to put their capital acquisitions on hold in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
    • The armed forces are in different stages of acquiring multiple platforms for modernising their arsenal. The Indian Air Force, for instance, is in the process of making payments for 36 Rafale combat aircraft from France and S-400 air defence weapon systems from Russia. The Indian Army is also acquiring tanks, artillery guns and assault rifles from different countries, while the Navy recently signed the deal for 24 multirole choppers from the US.

  3. Dassault Reliance Aerospace resumes operations at Mihan SEZ

    • Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) on Monday (20 April 2020) re-started operations at its Mihan special economic zone (SEZ) in Nagpur, in line with the government’s plan to lift the nationwide lockdown in a phased manner.
    • The company will operate with 25-30% of its total strength in the first phase, and plans to scale up operations as per the directives of the district administration and local authorities.

  4. General Dynamics unveils its newest MPF combat vehicle

    • General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, has demonstrated its newest combat vehicle that it developed for the U.S Army Mobile Protected Firepower program.
    • The new vehicle was showcased during a visit of the Secretary of the Army, Hon. Ryan D. McCarthy, and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army General Joseph M. Martin, at the General Dynamics facility in Detriot, Mi., on 23 April. U.S. Army leadership visited General Dynamics and BAE Systems facilities in Detroit to inspect several promising military programs that continue to progress despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The new large-caliber combat vehicle is designed to provide a mobile, protected, direct, offensive fire capability across the spectrum of terrains and operations for the army’s Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT). The vehicles are required to be highly lethal, survivable and mobile. The U.S. Army expects that new ‘light tank’ will be a 38-ton tracked armored vehicle capable to provide soldiers with speed, protection, lethality and the ability to wage a multidomain battle, working in concert with other ground forces to overwhelm the enemy with multiple simultaneous challenges. The new “light tank” will have improved armor and a 105 mm main gun.

  5. ISRO Gaganyaan mission on a lookout for inflatable habitats, space food

    • The announcement of opportunities shows that ISRO is on a lookout for technologies that can establish long term research as well as plan for necessary facilities. This includes human resource development for optimal utilization of experimental applications and technological developments.
    • ISRO is currently looking for 18 technologies including radiation hazards characterisation and mitigation techniques, space food and related technologies, inflatable habitats technology, human robotic interfaces, thermal protection systems, environmental control and life support systems, green propulsion, advanced materials, debris management and mitigation, energy harness and storage, in-situ 3d manufacturing technologies for space, fluid technology and management, space bioengineering, bioastronautics, simulated gravity technologies, human psychology for long term missions, space medicine and diagnosis, any other relevant technology related to human space program.

  6. Is our Army chief also handling Ministry of External Affairs?

    Scary thought: will minister of agriculture start framing army attack strategy?

  7. Why is Army chief interfering in foreign affairs matters? He should think of ways to get China captured territory back and never repeat his unpardonable security lapse.

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