Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff, plans to commence his international engagements with Nepal, with the aim of conveying the importance that India attaches to its neighbours.
General Rawat will arrive in Nepal on a four-day official visit on March 28 during which he is scheduled to call on the country’s top leadership and hold talks on stepping up bilateral defence cooperation.
“Neighbours are important and let me tell you one thing that I have prioritized my visit pattern to see that I would first visit our neighbours over other countries,” Army Chief Bipin Rawat said in a recent interview to Defenceaviationpost.com.
“So while my office will be planning my visits, the priority that I have given to them is ‘Neighbours First’,” he added.
Rawat will meet President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Prachanda, Defence Minister Bal Krishna Khand and his Nepali counterpart General Rajendra Chhetri during his visit from March 28 to 31, Kathmandu Post reported.
Asked to comment on what his focus will be during these visits, he said, General Rawat told DefenceAviationPost.com that he would like to tell them (Nations in immediate neighbourhood) that India is a strong nation and that any kind of support that they (our neighbours) need, “we will always be willing to support them.”
“I would like to re-assure them that India has no hegemonistic designs and that they can look at us with healthy attitudes and not fear India or the Indian Army,” Gen Rawat had said.
As per reports, a special function will be organised at the Nepal’s President’s Office where Bhandari will confer the honorary chief title on Rawat.
It may be noted here that the Army chiefs of both the countries have a tradition of exchanging their honorary titles to mark their special relations.
Rawat, who became the chief of the Indian Army on December 31 last year, will also visit the Indian pension paying camps in Pokhara and Muktinath areas.
Military diplomacy is an integral and very important part of foreign policy for any nation. Power projection and strategic engagements in matters of defence are important for a regional and emerging global power.
Defence co-operation in terms of training, supply of arms and equipment and sharing of intelligence in today’s environment of omnipresent fourth generation warfare, having global linkages within terror outfits like ISIS, Al Qaeda etc is a vital component in combating terrorism.
For a regional power like India, engaging its immediate neigbourhood is not only important for its own security but for that of the region as well since events and happenings in one state impact the other due to past historical, traditional and cultural linkages.
Engagements mustalways be done in concentric circles emanating from the state and expanding outwards; therefore Strategic military engagement across the globe by India though is a must, it is imperative to first secure the immediate surroundings, including the hostile ones.
For growth of the region, peace, stability and cooperation within its own sphere is a must.
With the third largest armed forces in the world, India cannot ignore its regional responsibilities and it cannot be ignored by the world.