In 2020, Gen Naravane’s journeys to Nepal, West Asia helped bolster army diplomacy, however main challenges stay

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Naravane undertook not less than 4 overseas excursions which had diplomatic overtones this 12 months — to Myanmar, Nepal, West Asia and South Korea

File picture of Army Chief General MM Naravane. PTI

Towards the latter a part of the 12 months 2020, military chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane broke new floor by endeavor a number of visits to overseas nations.

These visits would assist to bolster India’s army diplomacy and to take ahead its strategic aims on a number of fronts. They are additionally anticipated to assist safe India’s strategic pursuits within the context of an more and more assertive China.

In 2020, General Naravane undertook not less than 4 overseas excursions which had diplomatic overtones — a go to to Myanmar together with overseas secretary Harsh Shringla in October, Nepal in November, and West Asia and South Korea in December.

Here is a take a look at the importance of every of those visits.

Myanmar

General Naravane visited Myanmar on 4 and 5 October, together with overseas secretary Harsh Shringla. The go to occurred simply days after Shringla had an in depth overseas workplace session along with his counterpart in Myanmar. It additionally occurred weeks earlier than parliamentary elections in Myanmar, through which Aung San Suu Kyi’s celebration gained a majority.

The assembly assumed significance as Myanmar’s dependence on China has been growing lately, and Beijing can also be mentioned to be pushing some strategic initiatives together with the China-Myanmar Economic Project, as noted by News18.

In this context, India and Myanmar mentioned “maintenance of security and stability in their border areas and reiterated their mutual commitment not to allow their respective territories to be used for activities inimical to each other,” in line with an official assertion.

Nepal

Exactly a month after the Myanmar journey, General Naravane visited Nepal from 4 to six November. At the time, India was looking for to resettle relations with the Himalayan nation after bilateral ties got here below extreme pressure following a bitter border row.

During the go to, the Indian Army chief was conferred with the honorary rank of ‘General of the Nepal Army‘ by Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari at an occasion in Kathmandu.

India additionally confers the honorary rank of ‘General of Indian Army’ to the Nepal Army Chief.

Naravane additionally gifted medical equipment to the Nepali military, together with X-ray machines, computed radiography methods, ICU ventilators, video endoscopy items and anaesthesia machines.

The ties between the 2 nations had come below pressure after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically essential street connecting the Lipulekh cross with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on 8 May.

Nepal protested the inauguration of the street claiming that it handed by its territory. Days later, Nepal got here out with the brand new map displaying Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.

West Asia

On 8 December, the Indian Army chief launched into a go to to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. According to a press release by the Indian Army, the go to was historic because it was the primary time that an Indian military chief visited each the nations.

During the go to, General Naravane mentioned problems with bilateral defence cooperation with General Fahd Bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutir, Commander Royal Saudi Land Forces, the Indian Army’s Additional Directorate General of Public Information had mentioned in a tweet.

He additionally obtained a Guard of Honour at headquarters of the Royal Saudi Land Forces.

In the UAE, the military chief mentioned bilateral defence cooperation and problems with mutual curiosity with the UAE’s Commander of the Land Forces Major General Saleh Mohammed Saleh Al Ameri.

General Naravane’s go to comes within the midst of fast-paced developments within the Gulf area together with normalisation of Israel’s relations with a number of Arab nations in addition to scenario arising out of the assassination of Iran’s prime nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

For India, strengthening ties with Gulf nations is a vital a part of its ‘Necklace of Diamonds’ technique meant to counter Chinese affect in its neighbourhood, as famous by Business Line.

South Korea

General Naravane is presently on a three-day journey to South Korea geared toward deepening strategic ties with the nation amid mounting issues over China’s army muscle-flexing within the area.

On Monday, the military chief interacted with Minister of National Defence Suh Wook, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Won In Choul and Minister of Defence Acquisition Planning Administration Gang Eun Ho, officers mentioned.

An article in The Indian Express quoted a military supply as saying that India considers South Korea to be a high-quality producer of defence-related tools in sectors akin to aeronautics, shipbuilding, electronics, missile applied sciences, miniaturisation and software program. The supply was additionally reported to have mentioned that South Korea “has the potential to be the principal partner in developing the Indian defence industry base”.

The major areas of concern for South Korea include increasing Chinese hegemony in the South China Sea and security of sea lines of communication, and the country considers India as a stabilising influence in the Indian Ocean region, a military official told PTI.

The South Korean military is considered one of the strongest professional forces globally and it often operates alongside the US troops as well as carry out exercises regularly with American and other regional armed forces.

With inputs from PTI

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