Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday morning for a four-day official visit during which he will be conferred the honorary rank of general of the Nepal Army.
The title will be conferred by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari during a special function at the President’s Office on Wednesday. Nepal and India have a long tradition of conferring such titles on the chiefs of their armies since 1950 to signify the close military-to-military ties.
Rawat is visiting Nepal close on the heels of a trip by Chinese defence minister Chang Wanquan. He was invited by the Nepal government soon after he assumed office in December.
“The main purpose of the visit is to confer the honorary title of general of the Nepal Army to General Rawat,” said Nepal Army spokesperson Tara Bahadur Kari.
Rawat will also hold talks with Bhandrai, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” and defence minister Bal Krishna Khad. He will visit Pokhara and Muktinath, where the Nepal Army has a high-altitude warfare training centre.
Issues related to the purchase of military hardware for the Nepal Army are expected to be discussed by Rawat. Nepal buys almost all its military and defence gear from India, including helicopters.
An upcoming China-Nepal joint military drill is being closely watched by India since Beijing has been pushing Kathmandu to join the ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative, a flagship foreign policy initiative of President Xi Jinping.