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In chill season, ministry scales down Army Chief’s Nepal visit

Manu Pubby,New Delhi (IE): The chill that has set in between the Army Chief and the defence ministry is beginning to show. Gen. V K Singh has been asked to scale down a scheduled visit to Nepal next week.

This, even as the ministry is readying to hold a detailed briefing for the Army brass next week to update it on the measures taken to address delays in acquisitions that were redflagged by Gen. Singh in his leaked letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Gen. Singh was scheduled to travel to Kathmandu for a regional seminar on disaster management and counter terrorism being hosted by the Nepalese army next week. The seminar is for two days, but the Army was learnt to have proposed a four-day visit, likely after direct talks with the Nepalese army.

The ministry is believed to have sanctioned Gen. Singh’s visit, but allowed him only the two days during which the summit will be held. The ministry has also cut the delegation accompanying Singh to the bare minimum.

Sources said the defence ministry posed several questions to the Ministry of External Affairs, questioning the need to send the Army Chief for the seminar.

But the MEA expressed the view that Gen. Singh must go for what is considered to be a prestigious conference, and which would be attended by senior service chiefs from the SAARC countries and the US Pacific Command. Besides, the conference host was the chief of the Nepalese army, with which India has good relations.

It is learnt that at one point, the defence ministry even suggested that a junior officer looking after disaster management in the Army could be deputed for the conference, but the proposal was not accepted by the MEA.

Published Date: Sunday, April 1st, 2012 | 02:58 AM

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