Army Chief Naravane meets Nepal PM Oli, assures further defence cooperation

Gen. M M Naravane is on a three-day visit to the neighbouring country to reset bilateral ties following last year’s border row.

Army Chief Gen. Manoj Naravane on Friday called on Prime Minister of Nepal K.P. Sharma Oli and reaffirmed that he would work to further strengthen the defence cooperation between the two countries, Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said.

The visit is significant as General Naravane is the highest ranking Indian dignitary to meet the Nepalese leadership in the backdrop of the Kalapani territorial dispute. Nepal had protested against the inauguration of new road infrastructure in the Lipulekh-Kalapani area on May 8. The disputed area is of strategic significance to India as it allows India to access the Tibetan plateau.

Earlier in the day, Gen. Naravane visited the Nepali Army Command and Staff College and addressed the students and staff. Before concluding his three-day tour, he visited the Indian Embassy where he was briefed about the welfare activities being carried out for roughly over 2.3 lakh Indian Army veterans and their families in Nepal.

During the visit, Gen. Naravane also presented a welfare grant to Havildar Dil Bahadur Chhettri (Retd), a winner of Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), the second highest gallantry award of India.

Hav. Chettri was was born in August 1950 in Gharti Gaon in Matta Dang district of Nepal and enrolled into 4/5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) of Indian Army on August 21, 1968. He was awarded MVC for his conspicuous gallantry in capturing a fortified Medium Machine Gun (MMG) during the 1971 war. However, he had to quit service on his own request due to personal reasons before even reaching the requisite pensionable service and was discharged from Service on April 08, 1976,” the Army said in a statement.

“Since then he has been living in a small remote village of Banke district in Nepal and had no major income source and was surviving on his gallantry award allowance. His case recently came to notice when one senior officer of his unit informed Defence Wing about it,” the statement said.

Contact was established with him and a total amount of ₹10 lakhs was approved as a welfare measure. During an ex servicemen rally at Butwal, Nepal on November 21, 2019, he was felicitated with a cheque of ₹5 lakhs and the balance was handed over by Gen. Naravane on Friday.

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