Nepalese Army

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Nepalese Army
Roundel of Nepal.svg
Roundel of the Nepalese Army
Active 1768 – present (249 years)
Country    Nepal
Allegiance Government of Nepal
Type Army
Size 95,000 (62,000 reserve)[1]
Garrison/HQ Kathmandu
Motto(s) It's better to die than to be a coward
Anniversaries Maha Shivaratri
Engagements Battle against Mir Qasim 1763
Battle of Pauwa Gadhi against Captain Kinloch, 1767
Battle of Kirtipur
Battle of Kathmandu
Battle of Bhaktapur
Limbuwan-Gorkha War
Gurkha-Sikh War
First and Second Sino-Nepalese War
Last Nepalese-Tibetan War
Anglo-Nepalese War
World War I (Casualties)
World War II (Casualties)
Nepalese Civil War
General Rajendra Chhetri
Kalu Pande
Abhiman Singh Basnet
Damodar Pande
Amar Singh Thapa
Nepali national soldiers by Gustave Le Bon, 1885
Nepalese Army Lance Cpl. Nanu Tamang, with the Birendra Peace Operation Training Center, escorts a role player at the vehicle checkpoint training lane during Khaan Quest 2013 at Five Hills Training Area 130807-M-DR618-122

The Nepalese Army (Nepali: नेपाली सेना) or Gorkhali Army (Nepali: गोर्खाली सेना) is the armed military land warfare force of Nepal available internationally and a major component of the Military of Nepal. Service is voluntary and the minimum age for enrollment is 18 years. The army was known as The Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) during the monarchy system in Nepal. It was renamed the Nepalese Army in 28 May 2008 with the abolition of the 238-year-old monarchy.


Nepal army's Guruju Paltan (a ceremonial infantry company) in traditional uniform
Khukuri symbolic weapon of the Nepalese Army

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, army being organized in Gorkhas, 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 the year 1744, the Gorkhali armed forces came to be known as the Royal Nepalese Army.

Their gallantry, sincerity and simplicity impressed even their enemy so much that the British East-India Company started recruiting Nepalese into their forces. Since the British had fought against then RNA, which was till that time, still colloquially known as "Army of Gorkha" or "Gorkhali" army, the British called their new soldiers "Gurkhas". Sikh and Gurkha army 's war took place in 1809 which is known as Gurkha-Sikh War. The Indian army, after gaining their independence from the British, started calling them "Gorkha". In 1946, the Royal Nepalese Army troops were led by Commanding General Sir Baber Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana at the Victory Parade in London.[2]

The Gurkha Rifles existing in India and Britain are part of foreign military organizations where Nepalis are recruited. The NA are rightfully the true heir of the title of "The original Army of the Gorkha".

Prior to 2006 the Nepalese Army was known as the Royal Nepalese Army and was under the control of the King of Nepal. Yet following the Loktantra Andolan (People's Movement for Democracy) on May 18, 2006 a Bill was passed by the Nepalese parliament curtailing royal power, this included renaming the army.[3]

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. Most of its arms are supplied by India.


The Nepalese Army has about 95,000 infantry army and air service members protecting the sovereignty of Nepal.

Supreme Command[edit]

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 4th Jestha 2063 B.S.

The National Defence Council[edit]

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.

Now, Nepal is officially known as Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. The declaration of republic meant that the king is consigned to the history books making the President the supreme commander of NA.


The Nepalese Army is divided into eight divisions, one each in the seven states and one in the Kathmandu Valley.

In addition there are at least 7 independent units:

  • Army Aviation Directorate
  • Special Forces Brigade
  • VVIP Security
  • Artillery Brigade
  • Signals Brigade
  • Engineers Brigade
  • Air Defense Brigade


The Primary role of the NA is to defend the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Nepal. Their secondary role is to provide assistance to 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 international peacekeeping mission.

Foreign Involvements[edit]

  • Royal Nepalese Army in Indian Sepoy Mutiny
  • Royal Nepalese Army in The First World War 1914–1918
  • Royal Nepalese Army in Waziristhan War
  • Royal Nepalese Army in Afghan War −1919
  • Royal Nepalese Army in The Second World War
  • Royal Nepalese Army in Hyderbad Action – 1948

Domestic Operations[edit]

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 to engage in guerilla warfare against the invading Chinese forces. 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.

International Operations[edit]

The Nepalese Army has contributed more than 100,000 peacekeepers to a variety of United Nations-sponsored peacekeeping missions such as:

A member of the Nepalese Quick Reactionary Force (QRF) stands ready with a variant of the Galil assault rifle.
  • MINUSMA – For the first time,[4][5] 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 relations[edit]

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 neighbouring China and India. 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.

Commander in Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC) coordinates military engagement with Nepal through the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC). The ODC Nepal is located in the American Embassy, Kathmandu.


  • 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 9500 Army in each districts.


  • 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


  • Shree Rajdal Regiment (Artillery) (Currently has expanded to three additional independent Artillery regiments)
  • Shree Nath Battalion – established 1762
  • Shree Kali Buksh Battalion (Engineers) – established 1762
  • Shree Barda Bahadur Battalion – established 1762
  • Shree Gorkah Bahadur Battalion – established 1952 (best infantry unit of NA, then was established for special duty of Royal Guards).
  • Shree 'The Famous' Mahindra Dal Battalion -established 1844 A.D -1901 B.S.
  • Shree Kali Prasad Battalion (Engineers) – established 1863
  • Shree Sabuj Battalion – established 1762
  • Shree Purano Gorakh Battalion – established 1763
  • Shree Devidutta 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 Bhairavnath Battalion – established 1910 – (Parachute Battalion)
  • Shree Ganeshdal Battalion – established 1846 – signals and communications
  • Shree Nepal Cavalry – established 1849 – Household Cavalry ceremonial unit since 1952
  • Shree Vajradal Company – established 1806
  • 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 Jagadal Battalion (Air Defence)
  • Shree Yuddha Bhairav Battalion (Special Forces)
  • 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.[6] Germany, the United States, Belgium, Israel, and South Korea have also either supplied or offered arms to the Nepalese Army.[7]

The army is currently in possession of 160,000 firearms.[6] Its first standard rifle was the Belgian FN FAL, which it adopted in 1960.[7] Nepalese FALs were later complemented by unlicensed, Indian-manufactured variants of the same weapon, as well its British counterpart, the L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle.[7] 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.[7] 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.[6]

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.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6]

Small arms[edit]

Weapon Origin Type Calibre Notes
Hi-Power  Belgium Semi-automatic pistol 9×19mm FN P-35 variant.[8]
Submachine guns
M3  United States Submachine gun 9×19mm In reserve.[6]
MP5[6]  Germany Submachine gun 9×19mm
Sten[8]  United Kingdom Submachine gun 9×19mm
Sterling[8]  United Kingdom Submachine gun 9×19mm
Uzi[9]  Israel Submachine gun 9×19mm
M-16  United States Assault rifle 5.56×45mm Standard service rifle of the Nepalese Army.[7]
M4[6]  United States Assault rifle 5.56×45mm
IMI Galil[6]  Israel Assault rifle 5.56×45mm
IWI ACE  Israel Battle rifle 7.62×51mm Limited use by Military Police.[10]
IWI Tavor  Israel Assault rifle 5.56×45mm Used by Army Special Forces, Ranger Battalion.
Tavor X95  Israel Assault rifle 5.56×45mm Used by Army Special Forces, Ranger Battalion. Often seen with GL40 UBGL, shown to be OTB compatible.
AKM  Soviet Union Assault rifle 7.62×39mm Confiscated from guerrilla armories.[6]
Type 56  China Assault rifle 7.62×39mm 300 purchased from China in 2010.[6]
L1A2 SLR  United Kingdom Battle rifle 7.62×51mm Unlicensed Indian variant designated 1A1.[7]
FN FAL[7]  Belgium Battle rifle 7.62×51mm
INSAS rifle[7]  India Assault rifle 5.56×45mm The Nepalese Army had about 25,000 rifles in 2006, supplied at a 70% subsidy by India.[11]
PSG1[6]  Germany Sniper rifle 7.62×51mm
Ishapore 2A1  United Kingdom Bolt-action rifle 7.62×51mm 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.[6]
Machine guns
Bren L4A4[8]  United Kingdom Light machine gun 7.62×51mm Used in outposts and basic automatic fire training
FN Minimi  Belgium Light machine gun 5.56×45mm 5,500 purchased from Belgium in 2002.[7] Principal LMG/ SAW
M249  United States Light machine gun 5.56×45mm 300 supplied as military aid from the US.[6] Functionally identical to FN Minimi
FN MAG[8]  Belgium GPMG 7.62×51mm Principal GPMG, used on vehicle mounts.

Heavy weapons[edit]

Weapon Origin Type Calibre Notes
Air Defence
Bofors L/70[12]  Sweden Anti-aircraft gun 40mm
QF 3.7-inch AA gun[12]  United Kingdom Anti-aircraft gun 94mm
OTO Melara Mod 56  Italy Howitzer 105mm 14 in service.[13]
M29[8]  United States Mortar 81mm
M30[8]  United States Heavy mortar 106mm
120-PM-43  Soviet Union Heavy mortar 120mm 70 in service; mostly supplied by India.[14]


Vehicle Origin Type Quantity Notes
Armoured cars
Daimler Ferret  United Kingdom Scout car 40[14] Ferret Mk4 variant.[14]
Armoured personnel carriers
Casspir  South Africa MRAP 37[15] Some donated by India.[14]
Aditya  India MRAP 124[14] Partly financed with military grants from India.[14]
OT-64  Czechoslovakia APC 8 Donated by the Czech Republic in 2008.[14]
WZ551  China APC 5 Acquired from China in 2005.[14]


The Nepalese Army currently have three types of uniform.

Formal Dress[edit]

This dress 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, in order 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 coloured shirt and tie, leather belt and peaked cap.

Combat Dress[edit]

This dress is used by the Nepalese Army for regular operational duties.

Nepalese army uses two type of camouflage patterns:

Rank Structure[edit]

Rank English equivalent Description
Paramadhipati- परमाधिपति Supreme Commander-in-Chief President of Nepal


Rank English equivalent Insignia Description
Atirathi- अतिरथी Field Marshal Five-star rank
Pradhan Senapati – प्रधान सेनापति General Usually translated as "Chief of the Army Staff (COAS)". Army commander;four-star rank.
Rathi – रथी Lieutenant General Held by the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) and the Chief of Staff (COS); Three-star rank.
  • CGS – responsible for Operations, Intelligence and Training branches
  • COS – responsible for certain operations including United Nations Peace Support operations, nature conservation & assistance to wildlife preservation, National Cadet Corps and various welfare schemes of the army.
Uparathi – उपरथी Major General Two-star rank:
  • Adjutant General (AG) – responsible for recruitment, records, pay and services, posting and promotions, various ceremonies, legal and medical services, implementation of human rights and humanitarian laws into the operational doctrine and processing any allegations of violation of such rights.
  • Quarter Master General (QMG) – responsible for accommodation, rations, clothing, weapons, ammunition and explosives, equipment and maintenance.
  • Master General of Ordnance (MGO) – responsible for weapons and related procurement.
  • Inspector General (IG) – maintenance of operational readiness
  • Combat Division commander (6)
Sahayakrathi – सहायक रथी Brigadier General Support Directorate, Combat Brigade or Combat Service Support Brigade commander; One-star rank
Mahasenani – महासेनानी Colonel
Pramukhsenani – प्रमुख सेनानी Lieutenant Colonel Battalion commander
Senani – सेनानी Major Company commander
Sahasenani – सह सेनानी Captain Company 2IC
Upasenani – उप सेनानी Lieutenant Platoon leader
Sahayaksenani – सहायक सेनानी Second Lieutenant

Junior Commissioned Officers(JCOs)/Warrant Officers

Rank English equivalent Insignia Description
Subedar Major – सुवेदार मेजर Chief Warrant Officer
Subedar – सुवेदार Warrant Officer 1
Jamadar– जमदार Warrant Officer 2

Non Commissioned Officers(NCOs) and Other Ranks

Rank English equivalent Insignia Description
Hudda- हुद्दा Sergeant Section leader
Amaldar- अमल्दार Corporal Section 2IC
Piuyth -प्युठ Lance Corporal
Sipahi – सिपाही / Gunner गनर Private
Followers Non-Combatants

[16] [17] [18]

Chiefs of the Army Staff[edit]

Historically, the Chief of Nepalese Army have been mostly from noble families such as "Shah", "Basnyat/Basnet", "Pande", "Thapa" and "Rana". The first army chief during the unification campaign of Nepal by the Great King Prithvi Narayan Shah was Kaji Biraj Thapa Magar. He was followed by Kaji Kalu Pande.

Nepali Generals (between 1740s to 1887 AD)

Chiefs of the Army Staff (1960 AD–present)

No. Rank Name In office
1. General Bir Shumsher JB Rana 15 Baisakh, 2017 B.S (1960) – 15 Baisakh 2022 B.S (1965).[20]
2. General Surendra Bahadur Shah
3. General Singha Bahadur Basnyat −10 May 1975
4. General Guna Shumsher JB Rana 10 May 1975 – 10 May 1979
5. General Singha Pratap Shah 15 May 1979 – 15 May 1983
6. General Arjun Narsingh Rana 15 May 1983 – 15 May 1987
7. General Satchit Shumsher JB Rana 15 May 1987 – 15 May 1991
8. General Gadul Shumsher JB Rana 15 May 1991 – 4 May 1995
9. General Dharmapaal Barsingh Thapa 15 May 1995 – 15 May 1999
10. General Prajwalla Shumsher JB Rana 19 May 1999 – 9 Sep 2003
11. General Pyar Jung Thapa 10 Sep 2003 – 9 Sep 2006
12. General Rookmangad Katawal 9 Sep 2006 – 9 Sep 2009
13. General Chhatra Man Singh Gurung 9 Sep 2009 – 5 Sep 2012
14. General Gaurav Shumsher JB Rana 6 Sep 2012 – 10 Sep 2015
15. General Rajendra Chhetri 10 Sep 2015 – present


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 Nepal[edit]

Battles of Unification of Kingdom of Nepal[edit]

Battles as allies[edit]

Medals and awards[edit]

  • 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nepal Military Strength". Archived from the original on 16 January 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Lamb6". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Haviland, Charles (2006-05-19). "Erasing the 'royal' in Nepal". BBC News. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 
  4. ^ "In a first, NA peacekeepers to dispose explosives under UN mission". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "NA to deploy 140 soldiers to Mali for peacekeeping – News – :: The Kathmandu Post ::". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Legacies of War in the Company of Peace: Firearms in Nepal" (PDF). Geneva: Small Arms Survey. May 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Graduate Institute of International Studies (2003). Small Arms Survey 2003: Development Denied. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 97–113. ISBN 978-0199251759. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Hogg, Ian (1991). Jane's Infantry Weapons (17 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 747. ISBN 978-0710609632. 
  9. ^ Sharma, Haridev (2012). Tripathi, Devi Prasad, ed. Nepal in Transition: A Way Forward. New Delhi: Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. p. 57. ISBN 978-9381411070. 
  10. ^ "Exercise Shanti Prayas III Closing Ceremony". DVIDS. Retrieved 2017-09-27. 
  11. ^ "Wikileaks news: Why Nepal king Gyanendra shed power". The Economic Times. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Pretty, Ronald. Jane's Weapon Systems, 1983–84 (1983 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 876. ISBN 978-0-7106-0776-8. 
  13. ^ Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Armour and Artillery (2002 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 740. ISBN 978-0710623096. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  15. ^ Leon Engelbrecht. "South African Arms Exports". Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "". 
  17. ^ "Organization". 
  18. ^ "Ranks". Archived from the original on 2015-09-01. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "First Field Marshal Nir Shumsher passes away". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. 

External links[edit]