Army chiefs discuss strengethening defence ties between Nepal and India.

KATHMANDU, JUL 11 – Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Gen Chhatra Man Singh Gurung and visiting Indian Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh on Tuesday discussed strengthening defence ties between Nepal and India.

On the first day of his five-day visit, the Indian Army chief visited the Nepal Army (NA) headquarters and had a discussion with his Nepali counterpart. The meet was aimed at increasing bilateral assistance, according to a statement issued by the Directorate of Public Relations of the Nepal Army.

This is Gen Singh’s first foreign visit after his appointment to chief of the Indian Army last month. Singh received a guard of honour from the Nepal Army upon his arrival at the NA headquarters and was received by second-in-command of the NA Lt Gen Gaurav Shumsher Rana. The Directorate of Military Intelligence briefed Singh on the latest development and responsibilities of the NA.

President Ram Baran Yadav is scheduled to confer the title of honorary general of the Nepal Army to Singh on Wednesday at a special investiture ceremony at Sheetal Niwas.

The NA and the Indian Army have been conferring honorary ranks to the army chiefs of the two countries since the 1950s. The tradition was discontinued after the 2005 royal takeover but resumed after then Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor visited Nepal in 2010.

Gen Singh is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Defence Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar. He will visit the Birendra Peacekeeping Operation Training Centre in Panchkhal, the High Altitude Mountain Warfare School in Jomsom and the Nepal Army Western Division Headquarters. Singh will address a rally of Indian ex-servicemen in Pokhara and personnel undergoing the Command and Staff course at the Shivapuri-based college of the Nepal Army.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army said that the visit of its chief to Nepal has special significance in bilateral relations and defence cooperation between the two countries. In a statement on Tuesday, the Indian Army indicated this visit as one of high importance for India owing to its relationship with Nepal and close traditional links between the armies of the two countries.

“The friendship between the two countries is based on common ideals and principles arising from a significant legacy of social and cultural commonality,” read the statement. “Traditional linkages of the two armies and defence cooperation have been important tools towards cementing this friendship.”

Speaking to the Post, Indian Army spokesperson Jagdeep Dahiya said many issues were on the table to be discussed during the visit, including the resumption of arms supplies for the Nepal Army. Arms shipment from India has not resumed since it was suspended after the royal takeover.

“Discussions on enhancing cooperation in training and courses, UN peacekeeping, disaster management, sports, adventure activities and defence industry cooperation are likely to crop up during this visit,” said Dahiya.ekantipur

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