Indian Army chief Gen Naravane calls on Nepal PM Oli

Shirish B Pradhan
·2-min read

Kathmandu, Nov 6 (PTI) Indian Army chief Gen. M M Naravane on Friday called on Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and discussed bilateral relations, officials here said.

The meeting between Naravane and Oli, who is also the Defence Minister of Nepal, took place at his official residence in Baluwatar, the Nepal Army sources said.

Gen Naravane, who is here on a three-day visit, earlier in the day enjoyed a mountain flight during which he had a brief stopover at Syangboche airport, the gateway to the world's highest peak Mount Everest, they said.

The Chief of Army Staff also addressed the middle-level student officers at the Army Command and Staff College at Shivapuri on the outskirts of Kathmandu. During the interaction, he shared his experience with the student officers, they said.

On Thursday, Gen Naravane was conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepali Army by President Bidya Devi Bhandari at a special ceremony, a decades old tradition that reflects the strong ties between the two militaries.

His visit is largely aimed at resetting the bilateral ties that came under severe strain following a bitter border row early this year.

It was the first high-level visit from India to Kathmandu since ties between the two neighbours came under strain after the Himalayan nation came up with a new political map in May claiming several areas in Uttarakhand to be part of its territory.

Nepal had protested 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 claimed that the road passed through its territory. Days later, it came out with the new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories. India too had published a new map in November 2019 showing the areas 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.

India said Nepal's action violates an understanding reached between the two countries to resolve the boundary issues through talks.

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.

Gen Naravane is scheduled to leave for home on Friday afternoon. PTI SBP CPS AKJ CPS