Nepali Army celebrates 260 years of glorious history with its honorary Generals from the Indian Army

The two armies from the top of the world have implicitly sent an unmistakable message of unshakable and towering bond that exists between the Nepali and Indian Army.

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Kathmandu, February 23. The Nepali Army organized various events to celebrate its 260 years of glorious and unconquered history. Four former Indian Army Chiefs – General Viswa Nath Sharma, General J.J.Singh, General Deepak Kapoor, and General Dalbir Singh Suhag attended the celebrations as special guests of the Nepali Army. 

Besides General J.J. Singh, all are honorary Generals of the Nepali Army. The Nepali Army and the Indian Army have a long tradition of conferring honorary General position to each other’s Army Chiefs. 

The Nepali Army accorded a red carpet welcome to its special guests and the Indian guests reciprocated the warm hospitality with splendid honor. Firstly, in a display of intimate brotherhood and camaraderie, all the visiting Indian Generals and former Chiefs of Nepali Army jointly paid homage at Pashupatinath – one of the holiest Hindu shrines in the world. They jointly performed a special puja on the occasion of Shivaratri – a day that is also celebrated as Army day. Then, all the visiting generals went to the Nepali Army Memorial to honor all the fallen men and women in uniform.

Daura Surwal Topi and Trishul Damaru lapel pins

Following the memorial, they attended the Army Day main event at the Army Pavillion in Tudikhel. The arrival of the former Indian Army Generals in Nepali National uniform (Daura Surwal and Topi) and maroon Haji belts truly captivated the attendees at the event. They all donned matching Trishul and Damaru lapel pins – which added further flair to their attire. Trishul and Damaru is the official symbol of the Nepali Army and is also a holy symbol representing Lord Shiva.

According to a senior Army source, it was the first time ever that any group of attendees had been seen with such lapel pins and that gesture of former Indian Chiefs really seemed to touch the hearts of all those attending the event and watching the event live on television. One senior Army general remarked that seeing the first ever Sikh Indian Army Chief of Staff with his red turban beaming in Nepali national attire was a heart-touching sight. General J.J Singh is the first Indian Army Chief from the Sikh community. He further said that the honor the Indian Army Generals displayed by arriving in Nepali attire was simply exquisite.

Bipin Bell in Muktinath

The following morning after the Army day display, all the former Generals and spouses along with the several former Nepali Army Chiefs visited another holy shrine of Muktinath. Former Nepali Army Chiefs Generals Prajwalla Shumsher Rana, Pyar Jung Thapa, Rajendra Chettri and Purna Chandra Thapa accompanied the visiting Generals. It was a misty-eyed moment for all the guests at Muktinath temple because a bell readied by the Nepali Army with General Bipin Rawat’s name engraved in it awaited them. The bell was prepared to honor the deceased former Chief of Defense Staff (CDS). 

General Rawat fervidly wanted to pay homage at the temple but was unable to do so. Upon learning his desire, Former Nepali Army Chief of Staff General Purna Chandra Thapa had reportedly entrusted a civilian Nepali security specialist to facilitate General Rawat’s visit to Muktinath immediately following the successful visit of former Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukunda Naravane in November 2020.

According to a senior Army source, it was mainly because the same security specialist had played an instrumental role in facilitating General Naravane’s visit during a difficult time. General Rawat’s visit was finalized but cancelled in the last hour to due to surge in Covid cases. General Rawat died in a helicopter crash along with his wife and several others in December 2021. The bell was jointly offered by the Nepali and Indian Chiefs at the temple in memory of General Rawat after the four Indian Chiefs did a sankalpa pooja of the bell. The Nepali Army also arranged to send a picture of “Bipin Bell” and prasaad to General Rawat’s daughters through the visiting Indian Generals. 

Chiefs Conclave

Following the Muktinath visit, the visiting Generals along with their Nepali counterparts attended the Chiefs conclave at Nepali Army Headquarters. The Chief of Army Staff – General Prabhu Ram Sharma welcomed the guests, highlighted the significance of such a conclave and also thanked the guests for graciously accepting Nepali Army’s invitation. All the Indian attendees expressed sincere gratitude to COAS Sharma for the invitation and the warm hospitality accorded to them by the Nepali Army. All Indian Generals extolled the glorious history and contribution of the oldest standing Army in Asia and expressed their immense pride in being part of the Nepali Army family as honorary Generals. 

During the conclave, General VN Sharma and Gen Prajwalla Rana highlighted the historic and robust military bond between the two armies as two senior most Generals in the room. General Sharma is 92 years and General Rana is 82. General Pyar Jung Thapa highlighted the bread, bride and boots relationship that exists between India and Nepal and stated the military bond between the two countries remained as the bedrock of the bilateral relations.

General Rajendra Chettri and General Dalbir Singh Suhag who jointly played a vital role in uplifting the blockade India had imposed on Nepal in 2015 reportedly emphasized the need to further strengthen the bond between the two Armies to enhance bilateral relations. Both late General Bipin Rawat and General Dalbir Singh are widely known to call themselves Nepali at heart due to their long affiliation with the Gurkha regiment and very close affinity for Nepal. All other attendees at the conclave highlighted the need to hold such a conclave annually similar to the Surya Kiran military exercise that is conducted annually between the two militaries.

Ye Dosti hum nahi Todenge and Yo Man ta mero Nepali ho

Following the conclave, the guests attended the cultural show at the Army Club. President Bidya Devi Bhandari who is also the supreme commander of the Nepali Army was the chief guest at the event. Prime Minister Puspha Kamal Dahal was also present during the occasion. To highlight and honor Nepal’s very rich diversity, Nepali Army put on a very encompassing show representing all ethnic communities across Nepal. The various Gurkha brass bands representing three Armies (Nepali, Indian and British) jointly performed several numbers.

The one that wowed the audience was when a single trumpet player came in front and played the “Yeh Dosti hum nahi todenge” (meaning we will not break his friendship) – a very famous Indian song. That implicit message given to the Indian guests through that song was epic according to one of the visiting generals who had privately mentioned it to his Nepali counterpart after the event. He had reportedly remarked that it had touched them deeply. The event ended with the finale – “Yo maan ta mero Nepali ho” performed by all three Army band. Following the event, the guests attended a banquet and mingled with the other Army and non-army attendees.

Breakfast at Everest

As if to symbolize that the bond between the two armies is as high and unassailable as the highest mountain in the world, the Nepali Army’s final event for the guests was a breakfast event at the Everest region. Former Chiefs of Nepali Army and spouses, who had accompanied the visiting Indian Generals and their spouses throughout their visit, joined them for breakfast at Everest. 

While celebrating 260 years of history as the oldest standing army in Asia, through the breakfast at Everest and other joint events, the two armies from the top of the world have implicitly sent an unmistakable message of unshakable and towering bond that exists between the Nepali and Indian Army. 

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