New Delhi/Kathmandu: India on Thursday provided medical equipment to two field hospitals of the Nepali Army.
On behalf of the Indian government, Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane presented the equipment including X-Ray machines, computed radiography systems, ICU ventilators, video endoscopy units, anesthesia machines, laboratory equipment and ambulances to Nepali Army.
Besides, additional ventilators were also gifted to assist Nepali Army in its fight against COVID-19 pandemic. This follows an earlier army-to-army provision of ventilators in July this year, Indian Embassy in Nepal said in a statement.
His Nepali counterpart Gen PC Thapa also reciprocated by handing over 100,000 medical masks made in Nepal and an idol of Lord Buddha, a symbol of peace to Naravane.
Earlier in the morning, in a solemn ceremony Gen Naravane laid a wreath and paid homage at Bir Smarak (Martyr’s Memorial) at Army Pavilion at Kathmandu’s Tundikhel.
He, thereafter, visited the Nepali Army Headquarters where he was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour. This was followed by a meeting with his counterpart General Purna Chandra Thapa, during which both delegations discussed Army-to-Army relations and enhancing bilateral defence cooperation, it said.
He was also given a comprehensive briefing by senior officers of the Nepali Army, it added.
Gen Naravane reached Kathmandu on Wednesday for a three-day official visit to Nepal, on the invitation of General Purna Chandra Thapa, Chief of Army Staff, and Nepali Army.
He was received at the airport by Lieutenant General Prabhu Ram Sharma, CGS Nepali Army and officials of the Indian Embassy.
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will confer the honorary rank of General of Nepali Army on General Naravane later in the day.
He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on Friday.
India’s decision to send the Army chief to Nepal to reset the ties is seen as part of a larger exercise by New Delhi to rejuvenate relations with Myanmar, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan in the wake of greater efforts by China to expand its influence in the region.
The ties between the two countries came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.
Nepal protested the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through its territory.
Days later, Nepal came out with the new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.
In June, Nepal’s Parliament approved the new political map of the country featuring areas which India maintains belong to it.
India termed as untenable the ‘‘artificial enlargement’’ of territorial claims by Nepal.
Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory – India as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.