Ashok Mehta: Naravane’s Nepal tour has been ‘looked at significantly’ in India also

Ashok Mehta

Kathmandu, November 3

Indian Army’s retired major general Ashok K Mehta, who is considered an expert of Nepal-India relations also, has claimed that the official Nepal visit of Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane, beginning tomorrow, has received significant attention in New Delhi also.

Naravane is arriving in Kathmandu to receive an honorary rank of the general of Nepal Army as a continuation of the decades-old tradition exercised between the two armies.

In a brief interview with Onlinekhabar, Mehta says the visit has received additional attention in India this time.

“In general, an army chief’s visit is a routine one. But, this time, it is happening when the (bilateral) relations have come to a low,” he says, “In Delhi, there used to be little attention to such visits in the past. But, this time, it has been looked at very significantly.”

Mehta says there are some events in New Delhi to discuss the visit. “For example, the Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Analysis organised a programme on military cooperation on Monday. The visit has been considered an opportunity to improve ties with Nepal also.”

In another context, Mehta says India is closely looking at developing military cooperation between Nepal and China.

“There is a ‘lakshman rekha’ (a restriction) from India on Nepal-China military partnership,” he says, suggesting New Delhi does not enjoy close ties between Nepal and China.

“Nepal is well aware of the level at which it should keep diplomatic, political and military ties with China. A fight is going on between India and China in Ladakh, where many Gurkha soldiers are also involved,” Mehta states, “The government and the army of Nepal are well aware.”

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