Nepalese Army

  • Nepalese Army (Formerly known as Royal Nepali Army)
  • (नेपाली सेना)
  • (गोर्खाली सेना)

Roundel of the Nepalese Army
Active 1768 – present (248 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
Anglo-Nepalese War
First Nepal – Tibet War
Nepal-Tibet/China War
Last Nepal-Tibet War
World War I (Casualties)
Nepalese Civil War
General Rajendra Chhetri

Kalu Pande, Amar Singh Thapa,

Abhiman Singh Basnet
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 into Nepalese Army since 28 May 2008 with the abolishing of 238-year-old monarchy. Unlike other military forces around the world, the Nepalese Army has a very strict joining policy.


Nepal army's Guruju platan 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 neighbouring principality 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". 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

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

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 six divisions:

In addition there are 3 independent brigades:


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

Domestic Operations

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 immense 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. The Nepali government failed to provide any of the compensation agreed to in the surrender terms.

International Operations

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.

U.S./Nepal military relations

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 EPIC program is an interagency 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.


Major Base Camps are located in all 75 districts of Nepal with at least 20 major base camps and 9500 Army in each districts.




The majority of equipment used by the Nepalese Army is imported from other countries. India is a major supplier of arms and ammunition as well as other logistical equipment. The Nepalese Army also uses equipment imported from the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Israel and other countries. A small amount of small arms and ammunition are also produced at the Sundarijal arsenal.

Small Arms

Colt's Manufacturing Company M16 rifle 10,000 United States Will be standard issue assault rifle replacing INSAS & SLR.
Colt's Manufacturing Company Colt Commando 750 United States Used by 10th Brigade ('Gha' Gulma, 'Nga' Gulma) Special Forces & Counter Terrorism
Colt's Manufacturing Company M4 carbine 750 United States Used by Military Police, Nepalese Army Rangers and Nepalese Army Special Forces
Heckler & Koch MSG90 Military Sniper Rifle 600 Germany Used by Nepalese Army Sniper Units, Special Forces and Nepalese Army Rangers
FNH USA FN SCAR 500 USA/BEL Used by special units as both a battle and assault rifle of the Armed Police Force, Rangers, and No.10 Para Brigade .
Ishapore Rifle Factory L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle 60,000 India Once the standard issue assault rifle, some of which are transferred to Armed Police Force & some to special units of Nepal Police
Heckler & Koch MP5 500 Germany Used by Special Force and other Special Forces Units.
Israeli Military Industries IMI Galil 230 Israel Used by Paratroopers No.10 Brigade
Heckler & Koch Heckler & Koch G36 300 Germany Used by Special Forces. Upgrade to the G36 was contested with the M16A2 Assault Rifles for the Nepalese Army. The M16A2 later became the standard issue.
Fabrique Nationale M249 Light Machine Gun 5,000 Belgium Squad / Infantry support role
Various GPMG 5,000 Various Infantry support and suppressing fire role by various Army Units. Some variants of the Bren light machine gun#L4 is still in use.
Israel Military Industries UZI 200 Israel Used by Special Forces & VIP protection Units
Sterling Armaments Company Sterling submachine gun 25,000 UK Still the standard issue SMG which will be replaced by Colt Command M4 Carbine, some of it are transferred to Armed Police Force and Nepal Police
Indian State Ordnance Factory Board INSAS assault rifle 40,000 India INSAS rifles were supplied to the Nepalese Army at a 70% subsidy price. Due to unwillingness of the Nepalese Maoist government to continue using INSAS, it will be then transferred to Armed Police Force.

Machine Guns

Many Bren light machine gun 2,400 UK
Minimi 700 Belgium
FN Herstal FN MAG 400 Belgium


Norinco WZ551#WMZ-551B APC 175 China similar to Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé
Tata Motors Mahindra Mine Protected Vehicle 500 India
Daimler Ferret Armoured Car 85 UK
Ordnance Factory Board Indian Mine Protected Vehicle/APC 240 India based Alvis plc/BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa/Land Systems OMC Casspir on Ashok Leyland Stallion MKIII truck chassis (based on Ford Cargo)
Military Industrial Company LLC (GAZ Group division) GAZ-2975 350 Russia The GAZ-2975 is a Russian high-mobility multipurpose military vehicle.It is equipped with a powerful diesel, turbocharged, air-cooled engine and five-speed manual transmission. Independent torsion suspension, telescopic shock absorbers and regulated-pressure tires ensure exceptional cross-country ability, top speed of 90 km/h over rough terrain and up to 150 km/h on the road. The Tiger can ford water up to 1.3 meters deep. Its chassis can support various specialized bodies emphasizing armor, passenger capacity, cargo, etc.


Vickers QF 3.7 inch AA gun 45 UK
SPG-9 Rocket-propelled grenade system 100 Russia
25 mm gun (Indian Field Gun) 100 India
3.7 inch Mountain Howitzer 100 UK
Fort Halstead 105 mm artillery pack 14 UK
160 mm M43 mortar 1,070 USSR


The Nepalese Army currently have three types of uniform.

Formal Dress

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

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

Nepalese army uses two type of camouflage patterns:

Rank Structure

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 Private
Followers Non-Combatants

[7] [8] [9]

Chiefs of the Army Staff (1960 AD–present)

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

No. Rank Name In office
1. General Nir Shumsher JB Rana 15 Baisakh, 2017 B.S (1960) – 15 Baisakh 2022 B.S (1965).[10]
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 Rukmangad 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. 14. 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

Medals and Awards

See also


  1. "Nepal Military Strength". 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. "Nepalese Army – नेपाली सेना". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  5. "In a first, NA peacekeepers to dispose explosives under UN mission". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  6. "NA to deploy 140 soldiers to Mali for peacekeeping – News –  :: The Kathmandu Post ::". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  7. "".
  8. "Organization".
  9. "Ranks".
  10. "First Field Marshal Nir Shumsher passes away".
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