During his maiden India visit at the invitation of Chief of Indian Army General Dalbir Singh Suhag recently, Chief of Army Staff General RajendraChhetri met high ranking Indian security officials, and ministers, and discussed the Madhesh agitation and its security implications to Nepal and India. COAS General Chhetri met Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parikar, Home Minister Raj Nath Singh and Indian Prime Minister’s national security advisor Aji tDoval. After receiving the honorary general's title of Indian Army from Indian president, COAs General Chhetri spoke to journalists in New Delhi at the end of his visit. Excerpts:
As you visited India when Nepal was facing a very difficult time, have you talked about the difficult situation of Nepal during your visit?
Yes, I discussed on the difficult situation faced by Nepal. Following the amendment of constitution, the agenda of Madhesh has already been addressed. One of the main demands of Madheshi has already been fulfilled. There are ways to fulfill the remaining demands through dialogues and negotiations through democratic means. I informed the Indian security officials that if the security situation in Madhesh deteriorates, it will have short term and long term implications for both the countries. I put my views about the need to consider the damage caused by the deteriorating security situation in Madhesh.
Did you talk about the bilateral military cooperation between the two countries?
No. There is a bilateral consultative mechanism for bilateral military cooperation and agreement and understanding. Only this committee can decide on security cooperation issue. This is a regular meeting decided by Foreign Ministry. During my visit, I did not talk about any bilateral agreement. It was not in my visit schedule as well.
What is the importance of the visit?
First of all, I visited India at the invitation from the Indian government and upon approval of Nepalese cabinet. There is nothing personal about the visit. This is a very important visit given the continuation of traditional relations between the two armies. My visit was part of the continuity of that tradition.
How is your impression about Indian security officials regarding the deteriorating law and order situation in the border region?
I found Indian security officials are seriously concerned about the situation. It is certain that the deteriorating security situation in the border may create a lot of problems to both the countries. I discussed the matter of deteriorating security situation with Chief of Indian Army General Dal Bir Singh Suhag. India’s National Security Advisor Doval also had shown interest on border area security. Nepal Army has not been involved in any phase of current Madhesh Agitation and other agitation. However, I put my views on the state of Nepal and security implications following the obstruction in the border.