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Army chief Nepal tour curtailed

New Delhi: Amid the controversy surrounding the Army chief Gen V K Singh, the Defence Ministry has cut short duration of his stay and size of the delegation for a visit to Nepal scheduled this week.

Gen Singh is scheduled to take part in a regional two-day disaster management and counter terrorism seminar being held in Kathmandu from April 4 and chaired by the Nepalese Army Chief.

Last month also, the Defence Ministry had cancelled Gen Singh`s four-day visit to Israel citing the prevailing political situation in the west Asian and Middle East for the cancellation of the visit.

The stay and size of the delegation for the visit was curtailed as it was for a seminar only and not a bilateral visit by the Chief, Defence Ministry sources said here. There was no requirement to stay there beyond the duration of the seminar, they said.

Army headquarters ruled out any possibility of the Army chief cancelling the visit in view of the curtailment of the duration and downsizing of his delegation. The Army chief is scheduled to visit Kathmandu on Wednesday and return on April 6, they said.

After the General lost his battle on the age row in Supreme Court in February, the Defence Ministry and the Army chief were mired in fresh controversy over Gen Singh`s claims that he was offered a Rs 14 crore bribe and he had informed Defence Minister A K Antony about it.

The relations further strained after the leakage of a top secret letter from the Army chief to the Prime Minister on poor state of preparedness of the forces for which the political parties had blamed Gen Singh. Antony will hold a meeting this week to review the preparedness of the services and the shortfalls in specific arms and services.

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