Nepal Army chief calls on AntonyDecember 15th, 2009 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Nepali Army chief General Chhatra Man Singh Gurung Tuesday met Defence Minister A.K. Antony and discussed ways to enhance the defence cooperation between the two countries.
Gurung, who is on a nine-day visit to India since Dec 11, was Monday conferred the honorary rank of General of the Indian Army.
“Nepal is important to India. And the ties go back to history. However, due to Maoists authority in Nepal, there had been a lull in the bilateral military relations between the two countries. The Nepal Army chief called on the defence minister to discuss ways to enhance the cooperation,” said a defence official, requesting anonymity.
Gurung, who passed out from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun in 1973, was Monday 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. India has been supplying equipment in the “non-lethal” category, while officers from Nepal have been trained at Indian institutions like the National Defence Academy, Indian Military Academy and Officers Training Academy.
“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,” the defence official added.
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 from Nepal two years ago due to the political instability in that country 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 India 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.
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