Army Chief General MM Narwane will visit Nepal next month. It is expected that this journey will play an important role in improving the deteriorating India-Nepal relations after the map dispute.
The Nepal Army said in a statement on Wednesday that General Narwane would visit Nepal in November. The date of the visit was not explained in detail, but the Nepal Army said that the Nepal government had approved the visit in February itself. After that, the program of travel could not proceed due to the lockout in both countries. During the visit, the President of Nepal, Bidya Devi Bhandari, will confer with the title of Honorary General of the Army of Nepal.
Experts say that this is part of the tradition that has been going on for 70 years between the armies of the two countries. It will have to be seen how this visit will affect the relationship between the two countries, as this relationship has deteriorated in the last few months. Recently India inaugurated a new road from Dharchula in Uttarakhand to Lipulekh on the border of India, China and Nepal on the route of Mansarovar Yatra, which angered Nepal.
In response to this, the government of Nepal released a new map of the country. In fact, between the provinces of Uttarakhand and the Far West region of Nepal, there is a whole disputed area on the border of both countries, from Lipulekh and Kalapani Valley to Limpiyadhura Pass. Negotiations have been going on between the two countries to resolve the dispute since 1998. But on May 20, the matter suddenly became serious when Nepal released a new map showing the disputed area for the first time.
Sharda River, which is also known as Kali or Mahakali River in Nepal, flows between Uttarakhand in India and Dharchulha in Nepal.
Despite India’s opposition, Nepal remained adamant on this map and the Parliament of Nepal passed a Constitution Amendment Bill and also recognized this new map. Since then, there has been a tussle between the two countries. In the last few months, there have been some efforts to improve the situation, under which first the phone talks between the Prime Ministers of the two countries and then a meeting between the senior officials of the two countries in Kathmandu. The meeting reviewed the ongoing projects in Nepal at the expense of India.
General Narwane’s visit is the first high-level visit between the two countries after this entire episode. The selection of General Narwane for this is also interesting because the map controversy was sparked especially after his statement in which he said that Nepal is doing all this “at the behest of someone else”. There was a lot of opposition to his statement in Nepal. Even Nepal’s Defense Minister Ishwar Pokharel described the statement as “disrespectful” to Nepal.