Kathmandu, March 29 (IANS) Indian Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat was on Wednesday conferred the rank of honorary General of the Nepal Army by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari at a special ceremony at the President's official residence Sheetal Niwas here, media reports said.
Defence Minister Bal Krishna Khand, Nepal Army chief Gen. Rajendra Chhetri, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri and other senior military officials from Nepal and India were present.
It has been a tradition between the Indian and Nepali armies to confer the honorary top rank on each other's chiefs to signify their close and special military ties. Gen Chhetri received a similar honorary rank from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in February last year.
Ahead of the ceremony, Gen. Rawat paid a courtesy call on Khand and discussed the various aspects of military ties, according to a Nepal Defence Ministry statement.
The Indian Army chief, according to the statement, told Khand that the Indian Army wants to assist the Nepal Army in peacekeeping operations, development endeavours and disaster management and its efforts to increase its role in these three areas in all possible ways.
Commending the role of the Nepal Army in global peacekeeping operations, Rawat said India wants to see a prosperous, peaceful and developed Nepal.
Khand, while welcoming the Indian army chief, hoped that such high-level visits between Nepal and India will further strengthen the social, cultural and religious ties.
Thousands of Nepali nationals are currently serving in the Indian army so Nepal will not allow any anti-Indian activities from its soil, Khand said while sharing that military officials from both nations have been trained in both nations and are working closely in various international military platforms.
Earlier, Rawat laid a wreath at the Nepal Army Pavillion at Tundikhel, which was followed by a Guard of Honour at the Nepal Army Headquarters.
He also handed over seven horses -- a stallion light breed, two brood mares, two gelds and two donkey stallions -- to his Nepali Counterpart General Chhetri.
The Indian Army chief will be visiting the Nepal Army High Altitude Warfare School at Jomsom, Mustang, close to the Nepal-China border and Pension Paying Office Pokhara on Thursday, followed by calling on Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'.