Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane is arriving in Kathmandu today on a three-day visit.
Naravane will hold talks with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Nepali Army Chief General Purna Chandra Thapa during his stay.
He is arriving in Kathmandu at the formal invitation of Nepal’s Chief of Army Staff Purnachandra Thapa.
Nepal and India have a long-held tradition of honoring each other’s army chiefs with the rank of honorary chief of staff and Naravane is visiting Kathmandu for the same. He will be conferred the rank of honorary General of the Nepali Army President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Thursday.
Chief of Army Staff Thapa had received the honorary rank of Chief of Army Staff from the President of India, Ramnath Kovind, in New Delhi on January 13, 2019.
Though such programs were limited to general formalities in the past, this time the event is being observed with special interest due to the ongoing controversy over the Nepal-India border and the controversial remarks made by Naravane about Nepal.
In an apparent indication to Chinese role, Naravane on 15 May had said that there were “reasons to believe that Nepal objected to India laying a road connecting the Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand at the behest of someone else”.
However, Naravane’s visit is said to help mend ties between the two countries and dispel doubts created over recent visit of India’s Research and Analysis Wing’s (RAW) Chief Samant Kumar Goel.
Many leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) as well as the general public had criticised Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli for meeting Goel.