The Chief of Army Staff Indian Army, General MM Naravane, will hold a meeting with KP Sharma Oli, the Nepal’s Prime Minister who also holds the defence portfolio. The meeting is expected to focus on defence-related issues.
It is likely to take place around noon on Friday. The development assumes significance in the wake of the fact that Naravane is the first high-ranking official to visit Nepal a year after the boundary dispute erupted between the two countries.
According to people aware of the developments, General Naravane will go for a one-hour flight to Mount Everest and after returning from there, will visit the Nepal Army Staff College. His meeting with Oli will take place after that.
If the meeting goes well, Naravane’s visit is likely to be followed by a visit from foreign secretary Harsh Shringla to Nepal later this month. India could also participate in the meeting of the Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee.
The boundary dispute erupted after Kathmandu accused New Delhi of showing its part in a new map released in November last year. New Delhi had paused talks with the Himalayan nation’s communist government after its parliament cleared a new map in June this year that incorporates Indian territory near its border with China.
Over the last few months, the two neighbours softened their posture and attempted to reboot ties. In September, PM Oli decided to stop distribution of next school textbooks that had been published with the country’s revised political map.
Gen Naravane was, meanwhile, conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepali Army by Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Thursday. He was honoured at a ceremony at the President’s official residence Shital Niwas in Kathmandu. General Naravane was also presented with a sword and scroll during the function.
Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Chief of Army Staff Purna Chandra Thapa, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra and other Nepali and Indian officials were present at the function.
General Naravane then held a meeting with Nepal’s President and a banquet was held in the Indian Army chief’s honour in the evening.
General Naravane conveyed his gratitude for the honour bestowed upon him and also discussed measures to further enhance bilateral cooperation.
India also gifted medical equipment including X-ray machines, computed radiography systems, ICU ventilators, video endoscopy units and anaesthesia machines for two field hospitals of the Nepali Army.
Additional ventilators were also gifted to assist the Nepali Army in its fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.