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The Nepalese Army (Nepali: नेपाली सेना), formerly Gorkhali Army (Nepali: गोरखाली सेना) and The Royal Nepalese Army (Nepali: शाही नेपाली सेना), is the military land warfare force of Nepal that originated from Gorkha Kingdom. The army was formerly known as the "Gorkhali Army" during the unification of Nepal and later as "The Royal Nepalese Army (RNA)" during the monarchy period in Nepal. It was renamed the Nepalese Army on 28 May 2008 after the abolition of the 240-year-old Shah dynasty.
Roundel of the Nepalese Army
|Active||1768 – Present (251 years)|
|Allegiance||Government of Nepal|
|Size||95,000 active personnel|
62,000 reserve personnel
|General Purna Chandra Thapa|
Ram Krishna Kunwar
Abhiman Singh Basnyat
Amar Singh Thapa
The Nepalese Army participated in various battles of the Unification campaign of Nepal, Limbuwan-Gorkha War, Gurkha-Sikh War, First and Second Sino-Nepalese War, Anglo-Nepalese War, the last Nepalese-Tibetan War, World War I, World War II, and the Nepalese Civil War. As UN peacekeeping forces, the Army has participated in the Somali Civil War, Sierra Leone Civil War, Eritrean–Ethiopian War and Second Sudanese Civil War.
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Women Participation in Nepal Army
- 4 Operations
- 5 Bases
- 6 Units
- 7 Equipment
- 8 Uniform
- 9 Rank Structure
- 10 Chiefs of the Nepalese Army
- 11 Battles
- 12 Medals and awards
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 Books
- 17 External links
The Nepal unification campaign was a turning point in the history of the Nepalese army. Since unification was not possible without a strong army, the management of the armed forces had to be exceptional. Apart from the standard Malla era temples in Kathmandu, the army organized itself in Gorkha. Technicians and experts had to be brought in from abroad to manufacture war materials. After the Gorkhali troops captured Nuwakot, the hilly northern part of Kathmandu (Kantipur) in 1744, the Gorkhali armed forces came to be known as the Royal Nepalese Army.
Their performance impressed their enemies so much that the British East-India Company started recruiting Nepalese troops into their forces. Since the British had fought against then RNA, which was until that time, still colloquially known as "Army of Gorkha" or "Gorkhali" army, the British called the new soldiers "Gurkhas." The Gurkha-Sikh War began shortly after, in 1809. In 1946, the Royal Nepalese Army troops were led by Commanding General Sir Baber Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana at the Victory Parade in London.
Prior to 2006, the Nepalese Army was known as the Royal Nepalese Army and was under the control of the King of Nepal. Following the Loktantra Andolan (People's Movement for Democracy) on May 18, 2006, a bill was passed by the Nepalese parliament curtailing royal power, which included renaming the army.
In 2004, Nepal spent $99.2 million on its military (1.5% of its GDP). Since 2002, the RNA had been involved in the Nepali Civil War they were also used to quell the pro-democracy protesters in April 2006 Loktantra Andolan. India is the most massive arms and military hardware supplier.
The Nepalese Army has about 95,000 infantry army and air service members protecting the sovereignty of Nepal. In August 2018, The Himalayan Times estimates total army forces to be around 96,000 while The Kathmandu Post estimates it to be 92,000.
The position of the Supreme Commander of the Nepalese Army is the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Until 2006, the King of Nepal (monarchy abolished) was in control of all military forces in the country. The National Army was renamed from Royal Nepalese Army to Nepalese Army after the recent national conversion from a monarchy to a republic on 28 May 2008 (4 Jestha 2063 B.S.)
The National Defence CouncilEdit
This Council has seven members: the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister, the Chief of the Army Staff, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, Home Minister, and the Chief Secretary.
The President of Nepal is the Supreme Commander-In-Chief.
The Nepalese Army is divided into eight divisions, one each in the seven states and one in the Kathmandu Valley.
Besides, there are at least 7 independent units:
- Army Aviation Directorate
- Special Forces Brigade
- VVIP Security
- Artillery Brigade
- Signals Brigade
- Engineers Brigade
- Air Defense Brigade
Women Participation in Nepal ArmyEdit
The first unofficial participation of women in the Nepal Army was during the Anglo-Nepalese War in the Battle of Nalapani. The Battle of Nalapani was the first battle of the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814–1816, fought between the forces of the British East India Company and Nepal, then ruled by the Gorkha Kingdom. Nepalese women were heavily involved in this battle, supporting the male Gurkha warriors. With no automatic weapons in hands, Nepalese women fought with British troops with stones and woods. According to Nepal Army YouTube channel "Nepali Army" program Nepali Senama Mahila Sahabhagita (documentary) - Episode 405, the official participation of women in Nepal Army started in 2018 B.S in the post of Nurse. The timeline of official women's participation in the Nepal Army is as follow:
- 2018 B.S = Captain Gyani Shah as Nurse
- 2022 B.S = Parachute folding women team
- 2026 B.S = First women Para Jumper Leutinant Annapurna Kunwar
- 2026 B.S = Introduction of women doctor
- 2055 B.S = Introduction of women in law affairs
- 2056 B.S = Introduction of women as UN Peacekeeping mission
- 2061 B.S = Introduction of women engineers and other technicians
Notable Women Officers In Nepal ArmyEdit
- Brigadier General Dr. Radha Shah = First women to become Brigadier General of Nepal Army
- Brigadier General Dr. Narvada Thapa = First women staff of Nepal Army to get a doctorate (P.Hd)
- Colonel Dr. Sarita K.C = First Nepalese army personnel to join UN Peacekeeping mission(UNIFIL)
- Major Geeta Gurung = First women officer commanding of the unit in a peacekeeping mission, UNDOF from Nepal Army
- Major Kriti Rajbhandari = First women observer military liaison officer from Nepal Army
- Colonel Yvetta Rana = First women officer of Judge Advocate General Department of Nepal Army
- Major Er.Bibhusa Mishra = First women officer to join the Engineering department of Nepal Army (2061 B.S.)
- Lieutenant Colonel Sovana Rayamajhi = First women officer to join IT Department of Nepal Army
- Major Er. Ranjana Kandel = First women Engineer officer to join EME of Nepal Army
- Major Niru Dhungana = First batch of women military pilot
- Major Anita Ale Magar = First batch of women military pilot
- Major Shristhi Khadka = First women company commander of Nepal Army
The Primary role of the NA is to defend the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Nepal. Their secondary role is to assist the Civilian Government of Nepal in the maintenance of internal security. Other duties include humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, assisting in national development, nature conservation efforts, and participation in an international peacekeeping mission.
- Royal Nepalese Army in Indian Sepoy Mutiny
- Royal Nepalese Army in The First World War 1914–1918
- Royal Nepalese Army in Waziristan War
- Royal Nepalese Army in Afghan War −1919
- Royal Nepalese Army in The Second World War
- Royal Nepalese Army in Hyderabad Action – 1948
Disarmament of the Khampas – 1974
In 1974, the then Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) was mobilized to disarm the Tibetan Khampas, who had been using Nepalese soil as a base to engage in guerilla warfare against the People's Liberation Army in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. The Khampas operated mainly from a base secretly established at Mustang in northwest Nepal. The RNA, under diplomatic pressure from China and the international community, moved nine infantry units toward Mustang and gave the Khampas an ultimatum to either disarm themselves and surrender or face attack. The terms and conditions of their surrender were that they would be given Nepalese citizenship, land, and money, and free schooling for their children. The Khampa commander, General Wangdi, agreed to surrender but eventually fled the camp. He was later killed by RNA forces in Doti, in far western Nepal, while trying to loot a Nepal Police post, this was the first time the RNA had mobilized domestically in such large numbers.
- United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL),
- UNOSOMII the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), UN Operational Mission Somalia II,
- MINUSTAH the United Nations Mission in Haiti.
- UNAMSIL – Currently, Nepal is sending an 800-man battalion to serve in the peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).
- UNMIS – The Nepalese Army has sent a protection company of 200 personnel in United Nations Mission In Sudan. The Redeployment Coordination HQ at Kassala is also manned by the Nepalese contingent. The RCHQ was intended to monitor withdrawals from the eastern sectors of the UNMIS area under the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Accord.
- MINUSMA – For the first time, the Nepalese Army has a company of EOD of 140 personnel specially dedicated for improvised explosive device (IED) and ordnance disposal mission in Mali.
U.S./Nepal military relationsEdit
The U.S.-Nepali military relationship focuses on support for democratic institutions, civilian control of the military, and the professional military ethic to include respect for human rights. The US would support Nepal with arms, ammunition and additional commandos and soldiers if war began with its neighboring China but resisted giving any support if war broke out with India as in is an essential ally to the US in the Indo-Pacific against China and has also signed COMCASA with the US in the 2+2 meeting in September 2018. Both countries have had extensive contact over the years. Nepali Army units have served with distinction alongside American forces in places such as Haiti, Iraq, and Somalia.
U.S.-Nepali military engagement continues today through IMET, Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities (EIPC), Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), and various conferences and seminars. The U.S. military sends many Nepalese Army officers to America to attend military schooling, such as the Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. The IMET budget for FY2001 was $220,000.
The EIPC program is an inter-agency program between the Department of Defense and the Department of State to increase the pool of international peacekeepers and to promote interoperability. Nepal received about $1.9 million in EPIC funding.
- Kathmandu Army HQ
- Panchkhal Military Base (UN Peacekeeping Training Center)
Major Base Camps are located in all 77 districts of Nepal, with at least 20 major base camps and 500 Army in each district.
- Nepalese Army Command and Staff College, Shivapuri
- Nepalese Army War College, Nagarkot
- Nepalese Military Academy, Kharipati
- Nepalese Army Recruit Training Center, Trishuli
- Nepalese Army Jungle Warfare School, Amlekhgunj
- Nepalese Army High Altitude and Mountain Warfare School, Mustang
- Nepalese Army Intelligence School, Kharipati
- Nepalese Army Logistics School, Chhauni
- Birendra Peace Keeping Operation Training Center, Panchkhal
- Nepalese Army Para Training School, Maharajgunj
- Nepalese Army EME school, Kharipati
|Insignia||Name||Headquarters||Motto||Founded Year||First General Officer Commanding (GOC)||Current General Officer Commanding (GOC)||Subordinate Unit(s)|
|Eastern Division||Itahari||Rastra Rakshya Param Kartabya||January 29, 2003 (2059 Magh 15 B.S)||Maj. Gen. Pradip Pratap Bam Malla||Maj. Gen. Sameer Shahi|
|Mid Eastern Division (proposed)||Province No. 2|
|Mid Division||Hetauda||Atal Bhakti Desh Prati||November 16, 2004 (Marga 01, 2061)||Maj Gen Thakur Subba||Maj Gen Subarna Bahadur Shah|
|Valley Division||Narayanhiti Palace, Kathmandu||Shanti Surakshya Sarbada||May 19, 2003 (2060 Jestha 5)||Maj Gen Kiran Shumsher Thapa||Maj. Gen. Shashi Chandra Bahadur Singh|
|Western Division (Formerly Central Division)||Pokhara||Rakshya Nai Dharma Ho||February 13, 2003 (Falgun 1, 2059)
renamed on September 17, 2004
|Lt Gen Chitra Bahadur Gurung||Maj Gen Kaji Bahadur Khatri|
|Mid Western Division (proposed)||Province No. 5|
|North Western Division (Formerly Western Division and Mid Western Division)||Surkhet (Formerly at Nepalganj)||Sadaiba Samarpit Desh Prati||29th Nov, 2001 (14th Mangsir, 2058)
renamed on 23rd Oct, 2005 (6th Kartik, 2062) as Mid-Western Division
renamed as the North Western Division on 16 July 2017 (1st Shrawan, 2074)
|Maj Gen Sadip Bahadur Shah||Maj Gen Karmendra Bikram Limbu|
|Far Western Division||Dipayal||Bhakti Nai Sakti Ho||July 5, 2004 (Ashad 21, 2061)
flag raised on May 1, 2005 (Baisakh 18, 2062)
|Maj Gen Rajendra Thapa||Brig Gen Jhankar Bahadur Kadayat|
The first four army units of the Nepalese Army are Shreenath, Kali Baksh (Kalibox), Barda Bahadur, and Sabuj companies in August 1762 by the King Prithvi Narayan Shah. The Purano Gorakh Company was founded on February 1763 is the fifth army unit of Nepal by its founding date.
- Shree Nath Battalion – established 1762
- Shree Kali Buksh Battalion (Engineers) – established 1762
- Shree Barda Bahadur Battalion – established 1762
- Shree Sabuj Battalion – established 1762
- Shree Purano Gorakh Battalion – established 1763
- Shree Devi Datta Battalion – established 1783
- Shree Naya Gorakh Battalion – established 1783
- Shree Bhairavi Dal Battalion – established 1785
- Shree Singhanath Battalion – established 1786 (Commando)
- Shree Shreejung Battalion – established 1783
- Shree Ranabhim Battalion – established 1783
- Shree Naya Shree Nath Battalion – established 1783
- Shree Vajradal Company – established 1806
- Shree 'The Famous' Mahindra Dal Battalion -established 1844 A.D -1901 B.S.
- Shree Rajdal Regiment (Artillery) (Currently expanded to three additional independent Artillery regiments)
- Shree Ganeshdal Battalion – established 1846 – signals and communications
- Shree Nepal Cavalry – established 1849 – Household Cavalry ceremonial unit since 1952
- Shree Kali Prasad Battalion (Engineers) – established 1863
- Shree Bhairavnath Battalion – established 1910 – (Parachute Battalion)
- Shree Bhagvati Prasad Company – established 1927
- Shree Khadga Dal Battalion - established 1937
- Shree Parshwavarti Company – established 1936 – served as PM's Body Guard unit and disbanded 1952
- Shree Gorkah Bahadur Battalion – established 1952 (best infantry unit of NA, then was developed for special duty of Royal Guards).
- Shree Jagadal Battalion (Air Defence)
- Shree Yuddha Kawaj Battalion (Mechanized Infantry)
- Shree Mahabir Battalion (Rangers Battalion. Equivalent to U.S Army Rangers (Part of Nepalese Army Special Operation Force))
- Shree Chandan Nath Battalion – established 2004 (Infantry Unit)
- Shree Tara Dal Battalion – established 2002 (Infantry Unit)
- Shree No 1 Disaster Management Battalion – established 2012
- Shree No 2 Disaster Management Battalion – established 2012
The majority of equipment used by the Nepalese Army is imported from other countries. India is the army's largest supplier of arms and ammunition as well as other logistical equipment, which are often furnished under generous military grants. Germany, the United States, Belgium, Israel, and South Korea have also either supplied or offered arms to the Nepalese Army.
The army is currently in possession of 160,000 firearms. Its first standard rifle was the Belgian FN FAL, which it adopted in 1960. Nepalese FALs were later complemented by unlicensed, Indian-manufactured variants of the same weapon, as well its British counterpart, the L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle. Beginning in 2002 these were officially supplemented in army service by the American M-16 rifle, which took the FAL's place as the army's standard service rifle. Nevertheless, the FAL and its respective variants remain the single most prolific weapon in Nepalese army service, with thousands of second-hand examples being supplied by India as late as 2005.
Until 2003, the Nepalese Army's reserve armories housed a large number of rare and antique firearms, some dating back to the early nineteenth century. These were mostly donated to Nepal by the British East India Company and later by the British Raj, although there were also a few previously undocumented, esoteric weapons designed by Nepalese gunsmiths. Most of these were sold to an American firm, International Military Antiques, to raise funds for the army's purchase of modern weapons during the civil war.
|Hi-Power||Belgium||Semi-automatic pistol||9×19mm||FN P-35 variant.|
|M3||United States||Submachine gun||9×19mm||In reserve.|
|INSAS rifle||India||Assault rifle||5.56×45mm||The Nepalese Army had about 25,000 rifles in 2006, supplied at a 70% subsidy by India.|
|M-16||United States||Standard service rifle of the Nepalese Army.|
|IWI Tavor||Used by Army Special Forces, Ranger Battalion.|
|Tavor X95||Used by Army Special Forces, Ranger Battalion. Often seen with GL40 UBGL, shown to be OTB compatible.|
|IWI ACE||7.62×39mm||Limited use by Military Police.|
|AKM||Soviet Union||Confiscated from Maoist guerrillas during insurgency.|
|Type 56||China||300 purchased from China in 2010.|
|L1A2 SLR||United Kingdom||Battle rifle||7.62×51mm||Unlicensed Indian variant designated 1A1.|
|Ishapore 2A1||United Kingdom||Bolt-action rifle||Indian copy of the No. III Enfield, modified for use with 7.62 NATO. New production action and barrel, recycled buttstock from No. III Enfields.|
|FN Minimi||Belgium||Light machine gun||5.56×45mm||5,500 purchased from Belgium in 2002. Principal LMG/ SAW|
|M249||United States||300 supplied as military aid from the US. Functionally identical to FN Minimi|
|Bren L4A4||United Kingdom||7.62×51mm||Used in outposts and basic automatic fire training|
|FN MAG||Belgium||GPMG||Principal GPMG, used on vehicle mounts.|
|Bofors L/70||Sweden||Anti-aircraft gun||40mm|
|QF 3.7-inch AA gun||United Kingdom||94mm||45 in service.|
|OTO Melara Mod 56||Italy||Howitzer||105mm||14 in service.|
|120-PM-43||Soviet Union||120mm||70 in service; mostly supplied by India.|
|Daimler Ferret||United Kingdom||Scout car||40||Ferret Mk4 variant.|
|Armoured personnel carriers|
|Casspir||South Africa||MRAP||37||Some donated by India.|
|Aditya||India||124||Partly financed with military grants from India.|
|OT-64||Czechoslovakia||APC||8||Donated by the Czech Republic in 2008.|
|WZ551||China||5||Acquired from China in 2005.|
The Nepalese Army currently has two types of uniforms.
This uniform is used primarily for parading and official duties. In August 2010, the Nepalese Army introduced a new ceremonial uniform replacing that worn by the former Royal Army, to make it more relevant to the changing context and time. The new uniform comprises an olive green tunic and trousers of modern style, green-colored shirt and tie, leather belt, and peaked cap.
The Nepalese Army uses this uniform for regular operational duties.
Nepalese army uses two types of camouflage patterns:
- Nepalese 4-Color Camouflage – similar to the Japan Air Self Defense Force camouflage
- Commissioned Officers
|OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D) and student officer|
|No equivalent||No insignia|
|General of the Army
- Other ranks
|No equivalent||No insignia||No insignia|
|Chief warrant officer
|Other rank insignia|
|Sergeant Major||Master Sergeant||Sergeant First Class||Staff Sergeant|
Chiefs of the Nepalese ArmyEdit
The Chief of the Nepalese Army have been mostly drawn from noble Chhetri families from Gorkha such as "Pande dynasty", "Basnyat dynasty", and "Thapa dynasty" before the rule of "Rana dynasty". During the Shah monarchy, the officers were drawn from these aristocratic families. During the Rana dynasty, Ranas overtook the position as birthright. The first army chief of Nepal was King Prithvi Narayan Shah who drafted and commanded the Nepali (Gorkhali) Army. The first civilian army chief was Kaji Kalu Pande who had significant role in the campaign of Nepal. He was considered as army head due to the undertaking of duties and responsibilities of the army but not by the formalization of the title.
Mukhtiyar Bhimsen Thapa was the first person to use Commander-in-Chief as the title of army chief. King Rajendra Bikram Shah appointed Bhimsen to the post of Commander-in-Chief and praised Bhimsen for long service to the nation. However, on 14 June 1837, the King took over the command of all the battalions put in charge of various courtiers, and himself became the Commander-in-Chief. Immediately after the incarceration of the Thapas in 1837, Dalbhanjan Pande and Rana Jang Pande were the joint head of military administration. However, Rana Jang was removed after 3 months on October 1837.
Since the regime of Mukhtiyar Bhimsen, only seven army chiefs of Nepal were non-Rana Chhetris including Shahs while others were all Ranas till 2007. Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) was replaced by Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) from the reign of General Singha Pratap Shah. Chief of the Army Staff is also known as Chief Saab.
Nepalese army fights various battles on the unification campaign; these battles of Nepal unification help royal Nepalese army to gain more experiences with a gift of Unified Nepal.
Battles on Defending Kingdom of NepalEdit
- Battle against Mir Qasim – 1763 AD
- Battle of Pauwa Gadhi against Captain Kinloch- 1767 AD
- Anglo-Nepalese War – 1814 AD
- First Nepal – Tibet War
- Nepal-Tibet/China War
- Last Nepal-Tibet War
- Nepalese Civil War
Battles of Unification of Kingdom of NepalEdit
Battles as alliesEdit
Medals and awardsEdit
- Mahendra Mala
- Parama Nepal Pratap Baskara
- Ati Nepal Pratapa Bhaskara
- Nepal Pratapa Bhaskara
- Ojasvi Rajanya (Sovereign – A)
- Ojasvi Rajanya (Sovereign – B)
- Ojasvi Rajanya (Grand Master – A)
- Ojasvi Rajanya (Grand Master – B)
- Parama Ujjvala Keertimaya Nepal – Shreepada
- Ati Ujjvala Keertimaya Nepal – Shreepada
- Maha Ujjvala Keertimaya Nepal Shreepada
Nepal Army is portrayed in different movies and teleshows throughout Nepal and the world. The film "Ma Timi Bina Marihalchu Ni" featuring Bhuwan K.C. and Jharana Thapa is based on the story of Nepal Army.
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