A visit on official invitation
Army chief Gen MM Naravane arrived in Nepal on Wednesday on a three-day crucial visit that is largely aimed at resetting the bilateral ties that came under severe strain following a bitter border row between the two countries. Gen Naravane is visiting Nepal with his wife Veena Naravane, the chairperson of the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA), at the official invitation of Nepal Army chief Gen Purna Chandra Thapa.
The Nepali Army believes that exchange of such high-level visits and continuation of tradition helps in strengthening relations between the two armies, contributing to enhancing the relationship between the two countries, reads a statement issued by the Nepal Army.
Engagements in Nepal
His engagements in Nepal include a visit to the headquarters of the Nepalese Army, an address to the young military officers at Nepali Army's Staff College and attending a banquet to be hosted in his honour by Chief of Nepalese Army Gen Purna Chandra Thapa. He will hold formal talks with his Nepalese counterpart at the Nepal Army headquarters on Thursday. The Indian Army Chief will be conferred with the honorary rank of General of Nepal Army by President Bidya Devi Bhandari amidst a special ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He will also pay a courtesy call on President Bhandari after the ceremony on Thursday. He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on Friday.
'Visit part of a larger exercise'
India's decision to send the Army chief to Nepal to reset the ties is seen as part of a larger exercise by New Delhi to rejuvenate relations with Myanmar, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan in the wake of greater efforts by China to expand its influence in the region.
The ties between the two countries came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8. Nepal protested the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through its territory. Days later, Nepal came out with the new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories. After Nepal released the map, India reacted sharply, calling it a "unilateral act" and cautioning Kathmandu that such "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims will not be acceptable to it.