KATHMANDU, June 13: Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane who earlier last month accused Nepal of raising the Lipu Lekh issue "at the behest of someone else," has softened his stance toward Nepal.
Speaking after reviewing the Passing Out Parade of 423 officers at Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, Naravane said “We have a very strong relationship with Nepal. We have geographical, cultural, historical, religious linkages. We have very strong people to people connect. Our relation with them has always been strong and will remain strong in the future.”
This comes after his remarks drew sharp criticisms in Nepal, prompting protests in various parts of the country against his 'demeaning' statement toward Nepal. Without naming any specific country, Naravane on May 14 claimed that the Lipu Lekh Pass is not a dispute and that Nepal has raised the matter at the behest of someone else, alluding to China's hands.
He also said that the current situation with China in Ladakh ‘is under control’ adding that India’s relation with Nepal ‘has always been strong and will remain strong in the future.’ “I would like to assure everyone that entire situation along our borders with China is under control. We’re having a series of talks which started with Corps Commander level and has been followed up with meetings at local level between Commanders of equivalent ranks," he said.
“As a result, a lot of disengagement has taken place and we are hopeful that through the continued dialogue we’re having, all perceived differences that we (India and China) have will be set to rest. Everything is under control.”