Army chief Chhetri heads to India

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Jun 6, 2018-

The Chief of Army Staff General Rajendra Chhetri travels to India on Wednesday to attend the Indian Military Academy’s (IMA) cadet Passing Out Parade to be held on June 9 in Dehradun, the capital city of Indian state Uttarakhand.

Invited by the Chief of Indian Army General Bipin Rawat, he will attend the event organised by the IMA as Chief Reviewing Officer this Saturday.

This would be General Chhetri’s 16th foreign visit since he took the charge of national defence force around three years ago.General Chhetri will meet with high officials of Indian defence force including Rawat.As Chief of Army Chhetri had commenced his first international visit from the India in first week of February, 2016 to receive the rank of Honorary General of Indian Army conferred by the then Indian President Pranab Mukherjee. Since then there is no stopping to his junkets.

General Chhetri had taken the charge of CoAS on September 10, 2015. On an average, he has gone on foreign trips every two months in his last 33 months as the Army Chief. He now has three months left in the service before retiring and making way for Lieutenant General Purna Chandra Thapa to lead Nepal’s 92,000-strong force.

The USA tops the list of General Chhetri’s visits. He has visited it thrice followed by India twice. He has been to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Thailand, the UK, Congo, China, South Korea, Lebanon and the UAE.

His latest visits were to Pakistan last month and to Congo in the first week of April.His visit to India this week would be his fifth foreign trip this year. Sources claim he is most likely to embark on visit to China a few weeks after returning from India.Nepal Army Spokesperson Brigadier General Gokul Bhandari said foreign visits aim to strengthen military and civilian relationships between the two countries.

“The more such visits, the stronger is the bilateral relationship,” he told the Post, adding such visits are part of military diplomacy.Experts have a different point of view. They say it is the government’s responsibility to evaluate whether it is necessary.

“There has to be analyses on whether such visits have brought about the necessary changes in the military and diplomatic relations as claimed,” security expert Geja Sharma Wagle told the Post.The government should first have clarity on whether the visit is of national priority before giving permission. The Cabinet grants permissions for such foreign trips, he said.

Published: 06-06-2018 07:07

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