‘Rare’ India arrangement awaits Rana


Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) Gaurav SJB Rana will arrive here on January 6 on an eight-day India visit. During the visit, Rana will receive the honorary title of general of the Indian army.

Rana will visit almost all of the operational commands of the Indian army, the first such tour by a Nepali CoAS. This arrangement is very rare for foreign commanders, said sources close to the Indian Army.

Rana will visit Jammu and Kashmir (Northern Command), Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (Central Command), Assam (Eastern Command) and Bangalore, Karnataka (Southern Command). However, it is not yet clear whether he will be visiting the Western Command in Delhi, Army Training Command (ARTRAC) in Shimla and the South-Western Command in Jaipur.

Rana is scheduled to have a dinner meeting with his Indian counterpart Bikram Singh on the day he arrives in New Delhi. The same day, the Nepali embassy is expected to organise a reception in Rana’s honour. The next day, Rana will be conferred with the honorary title of general of the Indian Army amid a special function by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee. This bilateral tradition is believed to have started in 1972 when erstwhile Field Marshal of the Indian Army Sam Manekshaw was bestowed with the honorary general title of the Nepal Army.

A few months ago, President Ram Baran Yadav conferred the title of general of the Nepal Army on Indian CoAS Bikram Singh during his Nepal visit. Prior to his trip outside New Delhi, Rana is scheduled to meet with Indian Defense Minister AK Antony. He will also visit the famous Kamakhya Temple in Assam.

‘Visit a reflection of deep ties’

New Delhi: Indian experts keeping a close tab on issues relating to the Nepali and Indian Armies have termed CoAS Rana’s upcoming visit as a reflection of the deep ties between the two national armies.

“The tradition of conferring honorary titles is a sign of the deep and special relationship the two armies share. General Rana’s visit will further strengthen this relationship,” said Ashok Mehta, retired major general of the Indian Army. Mehta claimed that India had attached the highest importance to its relationship with the Nepal Army as it has been a responsible force in Nepal with an apolitical nature.

“At this stage of political instability, the only institution untouched by politics is the Nepal Army,” he said.

Mehta further said that the fact that 38 regular battalions of Gorkhas are serving in the Indian army and that more than 70 percent of the personnel of those battalions are Nepali had also made ties between the two armies a “very special one.” Dipankar Banerjee, another retired Major General of the Indian army, said that Rana’s visit would help catapult ties between the two armies to a new height.

“Both armies have fruitful engagements and the Indian side wants to strengthen ties further, for which General Rana’s visit will be a good opportunity,” said Banerjee.



Posted on: 2012-12-25 08:19