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Army Chief Gen Naravane holds talks with his Nepalese counterpart

NEW DELHI (PTI): Army Chief Gen MM Naravane on Tuesday held extensive talks with his Nepalese counterpart Gen Prabhu Ram Sharma, focusing on ways to expand bilateral military cooperation in the backdrop of evolving security scenario in the region.

Gen Sharma's four-day visit to India comes amid increasing concerns over the possible impact of the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan on the regional security scenario.

Officials said Gen Naravane and Gen Sharma exchanged views on further strengthening defence cooperation between the two countries besides deliberating on the regional security scenario.

Ahead of the talks, the Nepalese Army Chief laid a wreath at the National War Memorial.

He was also given a Guard of Honour at the South Block lawns.

Gen Sharma also separately met Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari with a broad focus on further boosting bilateral defence cooperation, the officials said.

The Indian Air Force tweeted that issues of mutual interest and ways to enhance avenues for bilateral defence cooperation were discussed by the two chiefs.

In continuation of an age-old tradition that started in 1950, Gen Sharma is set to be conferred with the honorary rank of 'General of the Indian Army'.

Nepal conferred the honorary rank of 'General of Nepal Army' to Gen Naravane during his visit to Kathmandu in November last year.

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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