Indian Army chief General MM Naravane is set to travel to Nepal next month, the first high-level visit between the two countries since a border row hit ties earlier this year, after Kathmandu issued a new Nepal map that showed Indian territories as Nepali territories.
Nepal’s defence ministry on Wednesday announced that Naravane will visit in November.
“The visit was approved by the government of Nepal on February 3, 2020 but was postponed due to [the Covid-19] lockdown in both the countries,” it said in a statement.
In keeping with a long-standing convention between the armies of the two countries, Nepal’s President Vidya Devi Bhandari will “confer the honorary rank of general of the Nepali Army to General Naravane in an investiture ceremony during this visit”, the statement noted.
Though the statement didn’t give the dates for the trip, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that the Indian Army chief is expected to be in Nepal during November 3-5.
India and Nepal have traditionally had strong defence and security ties, with regular exchanges and training programmes. Nearly 30,000 Gurkhas serve in seven regiments of the Indian Army.
Naravane’s visit will provide an opportunity for the two sides to push defence and security cooperation after bilateral relations were affected by the border row that erupted in May.