Indian Army chief to visit Nepal

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Kathmandu, March 19 (IANS) Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat is slated to visit Nepal at the invitation of the Himalayan nation’s government.

During his visit from March 28 to 31, the Indian Army chief will be conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepal Army by Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, defence spokesman Major General Tara Bahadur Karki said here on Sunday.

President Bhandari will confer the honorary rank on Gen Rawat on March 29 for his “commendable military prowess and immeasurable contribution to fostering India’s long-standing and friendly ties with Nepal”, the spokesman said.

It is a custom and tradition between the Indian and Nepali armies to confer this honour on each other’s chiefs to signify close and special military-to-military ties.

General Rawat will also discuss bilateral military ties and other aspects of cooperation during his meeting with Nepali Army chief General Rajendra Chhetri.

Rawat is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Defence Minister Bal Krishna Khand and will visit Pokhara, where India’s biggest pension camp is located, and travel to Muktinath where Nepal Army runs a high-altitude military warfare training centre.

Other highlights of his visit will be issues related to purchasing military hardware and software for the Nepal Army.

Nepal makes almost all military and defence purchases from India, including helicopters.

Meanwhile, Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan will arrive in Kathmandu on March 23 for a three-day visit to inspect arrangements for the first-ever joint military drill between Beijing and Kathmandu.

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