Indian Army chief General M M Naravane was conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepali Army by President Bidya Devi Bhandari at a special ceremony here on Thursday, a decades old tradition that reflects the strong ties between the two militaries. He was also presented a sword and scroll during the function held at the President's official residence 'ShitalNiwas' in Kathmandu.
Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Indian Ambassador Vinay M Kwatra and other senior officials of both the countries attended the ceremony. The tradition, which started in 1950, reflects the strong ties between the two militaries.
Gen K M Cariappa was the first Indian Army chief to be decorated with the title in 1950. In January last year, Nepali Army chief General Purna Chandra Thapa was also made the honorary General of the Indian Army by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony in New Delhi. After the ceremony, Gen Naravane called on President Bhandari and conveyed his gratitude for the honour bestowed upon him. They also discussed measures to further enhance bilateral cooperation, said a statement issued by the Indian Embassy here.
He was accompanied by Indian Ambassador Kwatra. Gen Naravane, who is currently in Kathmandu on a three-day visit, earlier in the day met his Nepalese counterpart Gen Thapa at the Chief of Army Staff's office here and discussed measures to further bolster the existing bond of friendship and cooperation between the two armies.
His visit is largely aimed at resetting the bilateral ties that came under severe strain following a bitter border row early this year. "They exchanged views on issues of bilateral interests and discussed measures to further strengthen the existing bond of friendship and cooperation between the two armies, according to the Nepal Army headquarters' press statement.
He was also briefed about the history and current roles of the Nepali Army, according to the statement. He paid homage at the martyrs' memorial in the Army Pavilion and received a guard of honour in the Army Headquarters.
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 also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Oli, who is holding the defence portfolio, on the final day of his visit.