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Nepal Army Chief calls on Rajnath Singh, S Jaishankar

NEW DELHI (PTI): Nepal Army Chief Gen Prabhu Ram Sharma called on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday and discussed matters related to bilateral defence and security cooperation.

Gen Sharma began a four-day visit to India on Tuesday with a focus on exploring ways to further deepen defence cooperation between the two countries.

"Pleased to receive General Prabhu Ram Sharma, Chief of Army Staff, Nepali Army. His visit underlines the closeness of our relationship," Jaishankar tweeted.

Defence Ministry officials said matters relating to bilateral defence and security cooperation figured in the meeting between Singh and Gen Sharma.

In continuation of a tradition that started in 1950, Gen Sharma was conferred with the honorary rank of 'General of the Indian Army' by President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday.

Nepal had conferred the honorary rank of 'General of Nepal Army' to Indian Army Chief Gen MM Naravane during his visit to Kathmandu last November.

Gen Sharma has already held talks with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Gen Naravane and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari in the last couple of days.

Nepal is important for India in the context of its overall strategic interests in the region, and leaders of the two countries have often noted the age-old "Roti Beti" relationship.

Land-locked Nepal relies heavily on India for the transportation of goods and services. Nepal's access to the sea is through India, and it imports a predominant proportion of its requirements from and through India.

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