Indian army chief likely to visit Nepal within a month

File: Indian Army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane

Kathmandu, October 14

The Nepal Army is inviting Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on an official Nepal visit within a month.

Naravane is coming to Nepal to receive an honorary rank of chief of army staff of Nepal. As per a decades-old tradition between the two countries, army chiefs of each other are conferred the honorary status of army chief by the other country once they are appointed.

A source in the Nepal Army Headquarters says it is in communication with the Indian side about the possible date informally. Once a date is agreed, the invitation will be sent to him formally.

Although Naravane assumed the position of Chief of Army Staff of India in December 2019, his Nepal visit could not take place in nine months after that due to the Covid-19 crisis and a border dispute between the two countries.

When the dispute was at its peak in May, Naravane’s statement that Nepal was claiming its ownership over the land in Kalapani-Limpiyadhura region at someone else’s behest, hinting at China, had courted controversy in Nepal. Following that, some people in Nepal had also called for an end to the tradition of conferring the honorary rank of army chief to the army chiefs of each other.

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