Indian Army chief General MM Naravane met Nepal Prime Minister KP Oil at the latter's residence in Kathmandu on Friday, 6 November. General Naravane, on a three-day visit to Nepal, met Oli, who also holds the defence portfolio, on the last day of his visit.
"During the meeting, the PM said that Nepal and India have a long-standing special relationship. The PM expressed confidence that there was a good friendship between India and Nepal, and that issues between the two countries would be resolved through dialogue," the political advisor to the Nepal PM was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Earlier, Naravane was conferred with the honorary rank of ‘General of Nepal Army’ by Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari during a function in the President's Office on 5 November, IANS reported, quoting the Nepal Army.
Interestingly, since 1950, Nepal and India have a historic tradition of conferring the honorary title to each other's army chief. General Naravane will be the 18th Indian army chief to be conferred with the title, it was further reported.
Gen Naravane Meets Nepali Counterpart
Naravane also had a meeting with his Nepali counterpart General Purna Chandra Thapa during which they discussed ways to enhance bilateral defence cooperation.
Before that, he visited the Army Pavilion in Tundikhel, Kathmandu, and laid a wreath on the 'Veer Smarak' in a solemn ceremony.
He was later accorded a Ceremonial Guard of Honour at the Nepali Army Headquarters.
During a meeting with General Thapa at the headquarters, the Indian Army chief was given a comprehensive briefing by senior officers of the Nepali Army.
Naravane also handed over various medical equipment to the Nepal Army, which included X-Ray machines, computed radiography systems, ICU ventilators, video endoscopy units, anaesthesia machines, laboratory equipment and ambulances. To help Nepali Army fight the COVID-19 outbreak, additional ventilators were also gifted.
This follows an earlier army-to-army provision of ventilators in July this year.
General Naravane’s Statement
Before leaving for Nepal, General Naravane, in a statement, said that he is delighted to be visiting Nepal to meet his counterpart, General Purna Chandra Thapa.
"I am sure this visit will go a long way in strengthening the bonds of friendship that the two armies cherish," he said.
He had also said that he is grateful for the opportunity to call on the Prime Minister of Nepal.
"It is going to be a great honour for me to be conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepali Army by the Rt. Hon'ble President of Nepal. I am looking forward eagerly to this visit," the chief said.
Recent Strain on India-Nepal Ties
The ties between the two countries came under strain recently after China purportedly increased its influence in Nepal.
It was India's road construction to the Lipulekh area at 17,000 feet that had sparked a diplomatic row between India and Nepal as Kathmandu claimed the area to be its territory. The road was constructed to shorten the travel time for pilgrims visiting Kailash Mansarovar.
Lipulekh is a tri-junction between India, Nepal and China situated atop the Kalapani Valley in Uttarakhand. After this, Nepal brought out a new political map showing the contested area as its own. India rejected this new map of Nepal saying it is not based on historical facts or evidence.
To strengthen the relationship, Research and Analysis Wing (RA&W) chief Samant Kumar Goel made a visit to Kathmandu last month where he also met the Nepalese Prime Minister.
Goel's discussions with Oli focused on not allowing any interruption in friendly relations between Nepal and India and resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue and continuing mutual cooperation.
(With inputs from IANS.)