|Commands held||Chief of Army Staff|
General Rookmangud Katawal was born in Okhaldhunga District, in the mountainous Eastern Region of Nepal, on 12 December 1948 to Mr, and Mrs. Khadgadhoj Katawal. He was then personally brought to Kathmandu and looked after under King Mahendra's direction. He pursued high school education in Kathmandu. Commissioned into Shree Shreenath Battalion(Infantry) of the then Royal Nepalese Army (RNA)on 20 December 1969 after graduating from the Indian National Defense Academy, he holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Tribhuwan University, and a Master Degree in National Defence from the Qaeda Azam University,Pakistan. Gen. Katawal was the Distinguished International Honour Graduate of the US Special Forces Course and earned the coveted Gideon in the US Ranger Course. He is also a graduate of the Army Command and Staff College, Camberley, UK, the Senior Command Course, India and the National Defence College, Pakistan.
Gen. Katawal has held command and staff billets at virtually every level. In 1973, he served as an instructor at the Royal Nepalese Army School. In the same year, he donned the blue beret to serve in the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in the Suez Canal area. Between 1976 and 1977, he commanded the Independent Company- Shree Kalidhoj( Currently a battalion).Following several key staff appointments, he served as the Nepalese Government's Liaison Officer to the Brigade of Gurkhas of the British Army and Government of Hong Kong between 1983 and 1986. In 1988,he was appointed the Chief Military Personnel Officer of the United Nation Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). He took over command of Shree Pashupati Prashad Battalion in 1990. Following Service in the Research and Development Wing at the Army Hq, he took post as the Commandant of the Royal Nepalese Military Academy in 1993.
Promoted to Brigadier General in 1996, he holds the distinction of having commanded three consecutive Brigades, two infantry and one Special Forces. In 1999, he was appointed as Director of Military Intelligence. Upon promotion to Major General in 2001, he took over as Adjutant General (AG) of the Nepalese Army. He was then appointed as the first co- coordinator of the National Security Council. He has participated widely in national and International conferences and seminars at senior level, particularly in the security, peacekeeping and planning fields, such as Multilateral Planner’s conference in Romania and the International Symposium Course on Asian Pacific Security in China.
He commanded the then Western Division on combat operation in the peak of the counter insurgency effort between December 2003 and August 2004. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General on 10 September 2004 and took over as Chief of General Staff. He is also ‘Colonel Commandant’ of his old battalion, Shree Pashupati Prashad. He was promoted to General and appointed as Chief of the Army Staff of the Nepalese Army on 10 September 2006.
Athletically inclined and a keen sportsman, Gen. Katawal is particularly fond of basketball, racquet games and golf. Widely travelled throughout the world, his hobbies include reading, hiking and riding. A keen social worker in his spare time, among his various projects, he is involved in the development of a high school (currently a campus) in his home village in Okhaldhunga District. Gen. Katawal has also penned many lyrics in the Nepalese folk, patriotic and popular song disciplines. Gen. Katawal is decorated with Birendra Prajatantra Bhaskar, Second Class and has been awarded a host of other decorations and medals in some 40 years of distinguished service. Gen. Katawal is married to Uma Katawal, a career graduate teacher who has taught at the Army Campus for the last 20 years. They are blessed with two children, Shubhangad and Nepolina Katawal.
In 1988 he became the Chief Military Personnel Officer of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. General Katawal was appointed as Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of the Nepalese Army on 10 September 2006. Earlier, he was Chief of General Staff from 10 September 2004 to 10 September 2006 in the rank of Lieutenant General, and commanded the then Western Division in the peak of counterinsurgency operations between December 2003 and August 2004. General Katawal is also 'Colonel Commandant' of his old battalion, Shree Pashupati Prasad.
On 29 December 2001, General Katawal was appointed the first co-coordinator of the National Security Council Secretariat. He also served as the Adjutant General (AG) and the Director of Military Intelligence of the Nepalese Army, and as the Commandant of the Royal Nepalese Military Academy. He holds the distinction of having commanded three consecutive Brigades, two Infantry and one Special Forces. He has also served in the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in the Suez Canal area, and has been the Nepalese Government's Liaison Officer to the Brigade of Gurkhas of the British Army and Government of Hong Kong, and the Chief Military Personnel Officer of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Positions and controversy
He has been fiercely resisting group integration of Maoist rebels into the National Army and has been at odds with Maoist government on several other issues. Controversy surrounding his relationship with the ruling government, largely focused on recruiting issues, led to his brief sacking on May 3, 2009. It was also rumored that he had a strong backing from Indian government. Protests in response to his sacking included the withdrawal of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) from the ruling coalition government. The CPN-Maoists at the head of the coalition then named Lt. General Kul Bahadur Khadka as a replacement COAS. Shortly afterwards, the President of Nepal overrode both decisions and ordered him to continue his service. This resulted in Prime Minister Prachanda's resignation and a general collapse of the government.
After taking retirement in 2009, he is engaged with many public functions and private ceremonies. He has been traveling widely attending conferences, talk programs as quest of honor, chief guest and speaker in varied issues both inside and outside the country. He enjoys meeting peoples of all sectors and communities and interacting, discussing and debating with them in current and past issues related to societies, communities and nation. He travelled to different states of the US and Canada particularly interacting with Nepalese communities that included two interactions in Johns Hopkins’s university and Harvard. He attended international conference in Hiroshima university, attended a seminar in Seoul, China, travelled to UK for interaction, Many times visited India in the invitation of Vivekananda International foundation, India foundation and others. He went to Tel- Aviv to participate in the world summit for counter- terrorism. Thus he keeps himself fully engaged in his retirements and remains active and lively.
Pyar Jung Thapa
|Chief of Army Staff of the Nepali Army
2006 – 2009
Chhatra Man Singh Gurung