Nepal invites new Indian Army chief to visit in February

Kathmandu, Jan 17 (IANS) Nepal has extended an invitation to new Indian Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat to visit the country in February, a Nepal Army spokesperson here said.

A cabinet meeting recently approved issuance of an invitation for the new Indian Army chief to Nepal which would possibly the first foreign visit by Gen Rawat after assuming office on December 31.

Nepal Army spokesperson Brig Gen Tara Bahadur Karki said the proposed visit of Gen Rawat has been approved recently and the itinerary of his visit would be made public soon.

The visit will come at a time when Nepal and China are holding their first-ever military exercise in Nepal.

The proposed military drill between Nepal and China, with the aim of counter-terrorism and disaster management, has raised eyebrows in strategic circle in New Delhi due to traditionally close military and strategic ties between Nepal and India.

During the visit, as per established practice, Gen. Rawat will be conferred with the rank of honorary General of the Nepal Army by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari.

A special function will be organised at the President’s Office for the function where Gen Rawat, a Gurkha Regiment officer of the Indian Army, will be honoured for his “commendable military prowess and immeasurable contribution to fostering India’s long standing and friendly ties with Nepal”.

Nepal and India have a long-established tradition of conferring the rank of honorary General on each other’s army chiefs.

During his visit, Gen. Rawat will hold meetings with his counterpart, Gen. Rajendra Chhetri, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Defence Minister Bal Krishna Khand, among others.

–IANS

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