Indian and Nepal discuss enhancing bilateral defence cooperation during Indian Army Chief Naravane's three-day visit

Indian and Nepal discuss enhancing bilateral defence cooperation during Indian Army Chief Naravane's three-day visit
Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund NaravaneWikipedia Commons
Visiting Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Thursday held a meeting with his Nepali counterpart General Purna Chandra Thapa during which they discussed ways to enhance bilateral defence cooperation.

In a solemn ceremony earlier in the day, General Naravane laid a wreath on the 'Veer Smarak' at the Army Pavilion in Tundikhel, Kathmandu, following which he visited the Nepali Army Headquarters and was accorded with a ceremonial Guard of Honour.

At the headquarters, he held the meeting with General Thapa, during which the Indian Army chief was also given a comprehensive briefing by senior officers of the Nepali Army.

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Also on Thursday, Naravane handed over various medical equipment to the Nepal Army, which included X-Ray machines, computed radiography systems, ICU ventilators, video endoscopy units, anesthesia machines, laboratory equipment and ambulances.

Additional ventilators were also gifted to assist the Nepali Army in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

This follows an earlier army-to-army provision of ventilators in July this year.

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Later in the day, Naravane will receive the honorary rank of general of Nepal Army on Thursday, which will be conferred to him by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari during a function in the President's Office, according to the Nepal Army.

Nepal and India have a historic tradition of conferring the honorary title to each other's army chief since 1950.

He will be the 18th Indian Army Chief to be conferred with the title.

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General Naravane is also scheduled to hold talks with the President later.

The Indian Army chief landed in Kathmandu on Wednesday for a three-day official visit to Nepal, on the invitation of General Thapa.

He was received at the airport by Lieutenant General Prabhu Ram Sharma, CGS Nepali Army and officials of the Indian Embassy.

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The ties between the two countries came under strain recently after China increased its influence on Nepal.

It was India's road construction to the Lipulekh area at 17,000 feet that sparked a diplomatic row between India and Nepal as Kathmandu claimed the area to be its territory.

The road was constructed to shorten the travel time for pilgrims visiting the Kailash Mansarovar.

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Lipulekh is a tri-junction between India, Nepal and China situated atop the Kalapani Valley in Uttarakhand.

After this, Nepal brought out a new political map showing the contested area as its own.

India has rejected this new map of Nepal saying it is not based on historical facts or evidence.

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