- Suresh Sharma
Naravane’s visit has been seen as a significant event as it comes at a time when relations between India and Nepal are at low ends especially after Nepal issued a new map.
In history, military diplomacy has played a vital role in securing key interests of Nepal. It was so during the Sugauli Treaty (1816), Indian Sepoy Mutiny (1857), the tripartite agreement between Nepal, British and India (1947) and Thapathali Treaty (1856) with Tibet (China).
In these events, the
far-sighted rulers, including the military officers, demonstrated skills to
secure Nepal’s vital interests in a complex decision making process of that
time of geopolitical challenge.
cannot be limited to a myopic understanding as merely foreign ministry experts’
tool to pursue foreign policies through a structure channel. In most of the
cases, where there would emerge an impasse due to complex unavoidable
misunderstanding between neighbors the foreign affairs desk rests in a state of
immobility and throw the ball in political master’s court. Diplomatic
advances carried out by uniformed persons can result in disastrous
In this context,
Indian COAS General Manoj Mukund Naravane is visiting Nepal during which he
will be conferred the title of ‘honorary General of Nepal Army.’
Needless to mention,
during his tour to Kathmandu, the two chiefs will surely discuss new dimension
of military diplomacy between the two countries. The classic purpose of
military diplomacy is to resolve outstanding politico military or security
Naravane’s visit has
been seen as a significant event as it comes at a time when relations between
India and Nepal are at low ends especially after Nepal issued a new map showing
Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani in its territory.
Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on his October 5 visit to
Myanmar where India announced the opening of a high tech IT centre in
Myitkyina, an important strategic location close to China.
In the second week of
October, US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E Biegun visited Dhaka,
Bangladesh, and met with senior Bangladesh government officials to advance the
US-Bangladesh partnership on a range of bilateral initiatives. The Deputy
Secretary conveyed the message with sound military diplomacy so that US can
pull off more allies and partners in the region, where US is adamant to
congregate her influence to pursue the Indo Pacific Strategy.
Visit of such kind
serves to convey political message by creating a favorable security situation.
India is a major arms,
ammunition and equipment supplier to Nepal. Many officers and men undergo
military training in various Indian military training institutions and conduct
exchange programs under Nepal India Bilateral Consultative Group Mechanism on
Security Issues (BCGMSI). Considering this, the upcoming highest level military
visit of this time can be taken as just normal.
But Naravane’s naïve
statement that Nepal’s stand on Kalapani was provoked by China was not welcome
in Kathmandu. Any foreign relation expert can judge the spillover effects of
India’s illegal claim over their so-called strategic pass (Lipulekh) including
Kalapani and Limpiyadhura, which belong to Nepal.
assistance motif is linked with soft power politics as well. The
prospects of garment export were discussed in recent US Deputy Secretary’s
visit to Bangladesh. Kathmanduites were not less surprised to read the proposed
Indian railway link up to Kathmandu when Nepal Army was soon to develop Kathmandu
Terai Expressway and construction of Nijgarh International Airport is in
proposed Inland Water ways which would just connect Indian canals with the high
current river system in limited width of Tarai also has many denotations.
India is upgrading its
defense relationship with US, Russia, Australia, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia,
Thailand, Myanmar, France, Canada among others for a meaningful purpose that
can be better understood in US bandwagoning of Indo Pacific Strategy. Many of
the Indian military efforts are found to meet above purpose. India’s security
diplomacy with neighborhood is probably their need of the hour.
In the great game
competition in the region Nepal’s neutrality and impartial posture but
assertiveness in terms of her sovereignty should be a national agenda to secure
morale status of every Nepali citizen.
It is clear what India
wants in Nepal, we don’t through which means it will achieve the goals. Nepalis
are abundantly clear of the common security concerns. The meetings between the
generals in Nepal Army headquarters will provide rare opportunities to Nepal to
listen to India’s concerns while firmly standing for Nepal’s national
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