Indian Army chief to visit Nepal on November 4Naravane’s visit comes on the heels of controversy sparked by Indian spy agency chief’s sudden trip to Kathmandu and his meeting with Prime Minister Oli last week.
Indian Army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane is arriving in Nepal on November 4, the Nepal Army confirmed on Tuesday.
According to the Nepal Army, General Narvane is arriving in Kathmandu on November 4 at the invitation of Chief of the Army Staff General Purna Chandra Thapa.
“The main highlight of the visit will be the conferment of the rank of an honorary general of the Nepali Army to General Naravane by President of Nepal, Bidya Devi Bhandari, on November 5 amidst a special ceremony,” reads a statement issued by the Nepal Army.
As per a long-standing tradition between Nepal and India, chiefs of the armies of both the countries are conferred with the honorary titles.
Narvane’s visit, however, has become a talking point in Nepal, for his comments in the second week of May that Nepal was objecting to India’s opening of a road link via Lipulekh at the behest of someone else, alluding to China.
As Nepal and India traded statements at the government level over Lipulekh via which New Delhi in the first week of May inaugurated the road link to Kailash Mansarovar in the Tibet Autonomous Region, sparking protests in Nepal, Naravane had alluded to Beijing as the instigating force for Kathmandu to raise its objection.
Narvane had said that there were reasons to believe that Nepal objected to India laying a road connecting the Lipulekh pass ‘at the behest of someone else’, stoking concerns in Nepal.
Narvane’s visit to Nepal was already on the cards, but the Nepal Army’s announcement about his visit comes amid ongoing controversy over Indian intelligence chiefs sudden trip last week to Kathmandu.
Samant Kumar Goel, chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) last week travelled to Kathmandu–for a less than 24-hour stay.
Goel’s meeting with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has created controversy, with critics saying Oli failed to employ diplomatic and political channels by meeting with the chief of India’s spy agency.
Goel’s visit came amid frayed ties between Nepal and India over boundary issues.
After New Delhi announced the opening of the road link via Lipulekh in the first week of May, the Oli administration unveiled Nepal’s new political map depicting Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhuara as Nepali territories. The new map was subsequently adopted by Nepal parliament through a constitutional amendment. India claims the territories as its own.
Naravane’s visit will be the first high-level visit from the southern neighbour after the border row erupted between the two countries, as Goel’s trip to Kathmandu has been termed unofficial.