Artillery vehicle

General Pande donates artillery equipment and mine protected vehicles to Nepal | Latest India News

Army Chief of Staff General Manoj Pande on Monday handed his Nepali counterpart General Prabhu Ram Sharma non-lethal military aid in the form of artillery equipment, mine protected vehicles, medical supplies and horses, the army said.

The Indian army chief’s four-day official visit to the neighboring country comes in the wake of Kathmandu, raising concerns about how Agnipath’s new short-term military recruitment model could affect Nepalese citizens, officials said. people familiar with the matter, asking not to be named.

The army has been recruiting approximately Nepalese citizens every year for decades for its Gorkha regiments, which number 39 battalions, with recent recruitment figures around 2,000. India’s new recruitment program aims to recruit soldiers for just four years, with a provision to keep 25% of them in the regular frame for 15 years after another round of caps. Nepali concerns revolve around the short-term aspect of recruitment, people familiar with the matter said.

General Pande’s current visit to the Himalayan country aims to strengthen bilateral defense ties.

“#COAS General Manoj Pande laid a wreath at Bir Smarak and received a guard of honor at #NepaliArmy HQ. #COAS also called on General Prabhu Ram Sharma, Chief of Staff of the Army, #NepaliArmy and discussed ways to enhance bilateral defense cooperation,” the army tweeted on Monday evening.

General Pande was also conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepal Army by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Monday during a special ceremony at Shital Niwas, Bhandari’s official residence, officials said.

India’s and Nepal’s army chiefs are honorary generals of each other’s armies, an arrangement that reflects the strong military bond between the two countries. The tradition has been followed by Nepal and India since 1950 when Indian Army Chief General KM Cariappa visited Nepal.

HT had reported on August 31 that Nepal hoped Pande’s visit would help clear up the issue of Agnipath recruitment.

According to people familiar with the developments, the Indian side submitted a formal proposal in July to Nepal seeking approval for the recruitment of Nepalese citizens under the Agnipath scheme, but there has been no official response from Kathmandu so far. ‘now.

On August 24, Nepalese Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka had called India’s envoy Naveen Srivastava at the Foreign Ministry and requested that plans to recruit Nepalese citizens under the new scheme be postponed until that there is a consensus on the issue among all political parties in the country. Nepal, according to a report by the news portal myRepublica.

India had announced the Agnipath program on June 14, replacing the old recruitment system to lower the age profile of the armed forces, ensure a fitter army and create a technically qualified fighting force capable of meeting future challenges. . The move sparked widespread protests and forced a concerted government awareness campaign to allay apprehensions about the project.