India-Nepal give fresh impetus to bilateral military ties

December 14th, 2009 - 8:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) India and Nepal sought to give fresh impetus to their bilateral military ties as Nepali Army chief General Chhatra Man Singh Gurung Monday received the honorary rank of General of the Indian Army, an official said.
Gurung is on a nine-day visit to India since Dec 11.

“The visit assumes special significance in the light of enhanced bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” an Indian Army spokesperson said Monday.

Gurung, who passed out from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun in 1973, was conferred the honorary rank of General of the Indian Army at a special investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Nepali Army chief also visited his alma mater and reviewed the passing out parade Dec 12.

India and Nepal have been cooperating in the field of training and equipment.

“Counter-insurgency and Maoist advent is on the top of the agenda of the visiting Nepali delegation. The recruitment of the Nepali soldiers has resumed and we need to give fresh impetus to bilateral military cooperation,” said the spokesperson.

The Indian Army, which has about 40,000 Nepali Gorkhas in its ranks, resumed recruitment in Nepal this year after a hiatus of nearly two years. India halted recruitment in Nepal two years ago due to the political instability and doubts about the policy of the Maoists, who while campaigning for last year’s elections had pledged to stop the “shameful” hiring of Nepalis as “mercenaries” in foreign armies.

After the Maoist government assured the Indian envoy in Kathmandu that they would not prevent the recruitment of Gorkhas - the Nepali hill tribe famed for their courage and loyalty, the Indian Army again set in motion recruitment processes in Dharan in eastern Nepal and Pokhara in western Nepal.

The first battalion of the Gorkha regiment was raised during British rule in 1815. The Gorkhas have served the Indian Army with valour since then.

The Gorkhas have played a crucial role in India’s three wars with Pakistan (1947-48, 1965 and 1971) and during the India-China conflict in 1962. A Gorkha battalion served with distinction as part of the Indian Army contingent in the United Nations operations in the Congo (now Zaire) in the 1960s.

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