Nepali Army Beyond Primary Duties

Nation Development

Forever concerned with the well being of the nation, the Nepali Army gladly supports Nepal's quest for development. Today, it is considered as one of the most cost-effective and dedicated bodies for national development in Nepal. The Nepali Army has been utilizing its trained manpower and resources in support of national progress for many decades.

Infrastructure Development

The Army has been instrumental in opening up remote areas through rugged mountainous terrain with a large number of road and bridging projects. The selfless sacrifices of Army personnel and its institutional drive and integrity have made it possible for national planners to maximize the benefits from limited resources. The Nepali Army has played an important role in developing road networks in remote and rugged areas. Listed below are some of the roads developed by the Nepali Army:

Listed below are some of the roads constructed by the Nepali Army:

  • The Nepali Army was the major partner in the old Kantipath project linking Kathmandu to the Indian border with 105 Km road.
  • It also constructed the Kharipati – Nagarkot road. Today, Nagarkot is one of the key tourist sites in Nepal.
  • North West of Kathmandu, the Trishuli - Somdang road cuts through 105 Kms of extremely difficult terrain. This road was completed in 1990.
  • By developing the 88 Km long Katari – Okhaldhunga Road, the people of the Everest region had the necessities of life delivered right at their door steps. This track was completed in 2005. Likewise, the 28 km long Hile- Leghuwaghat road was also constructed.
  • The 86 Km long Salyan - Musikot road runs through some of the most remote and deprived parts of Nepal. The development of road would be an important catalyst to the social and economic development of the region. It was handed over to the local authorities on completion in 2005.
  • The 232 Km long Surkhet – Jumla road, built in large parts by the Nepali Army has been heralded as one of the herculean development achievements in modern Nepal. Besides the construction of the road, this project incorporates various other side projects for the upliftment of the rural society through which this road passes. Rebuilding of irrigation channels, vocational trainings for the under privileged, micro hydroelectric projects, etc have been incorporated into this project.
  • The Baglung – Beni – Jomsong road, which is 91 Km long, is built through some of the most picturesque terrain and can support the development of the region by providing transport to a region rich in agricultural products.
  • The 45 Km long Drabya Shah Marga, was built with a view to combating insurgency by pursuing development and security simultaneously. The 37 Km long Satdobato – Niwel – Balua road, the 39 Km long Gorkha - Mankamana road and the 45 Km long Gorkha – Aarughat - Orkhet road were also built under this program.
  • The Besi Sahar – Chaame road is a 65 Km long mountainous road. It follows the Marsyangdi river along the famous "Annapurna Circuit". This route provides service support to one of the most popular tourism areas in Nepal.
  • The 107 km Chhinchu – Jajarkot road, the 112 km Jajarkot-Dolpa road, the 31 km Devsthal – Chourjahari road, the 145 Km Musikot – Burtibang road, the 91 km Nagma-Gamgadhi road are currently being built to provide access to some of the remote and least developed areas of Nepal.
  • Likewise, the 81.8 km Nijgadh-Kathmandu fast track is currently being opened which is seen as an important catalyst in the connection of the Terai and the Capital city Kathmandu.

Nature Conservation

Though small in area, Nepal, as a result of varied geographical conditions is blessed with very diverse flora and fauna. Today, forests occupy 25.4% of the land area of Nepal, but deforestation is rampant. FAO estimates that Nepal lost about 2640 sq km of forest cover between 2000 and 2005. In this bleak scenario, the protection of forests and their biodiversity is a great challenge to Nepal. Hence the Nepali Army was called upon to meet this challenge in 1975 with a mission to protect endangered species, plants and the natural heritage. Since then, the Nepali Army has been responsible for the protection of 12 out of the 22 protected forests. 12 Battalions and Independent Companies with some 6,778 troops protect forest areas measuring some 9,767 sq km. The impact of the mobilization of the Army is very visible in the rhino census in Chitwan National Park. In the late 1960s, according to the releases of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, the total rhino count was less than a hundred individuals. With the efforts of the Army in protecting the Chitwan National Park, backing the Rhino project, the 1994 count estimated about 466 individuals and this figure increased further to 544 individuals in 2000. The Department credits anti poaching operations for the rapid rise in the numbers. However, the demands of internal security duties constrained the conservation efforts of the Nepali Army and as a result the numbers of rhinos in Chitwan National Park fell to 372 individuals according to the census of 2005. With the improvement in the internal security scenario and consequent enhanced conservation efforts of the Army, the rhino population has shown some recovery and is now estimated at 446 individuals. The graph displays the total rhino count in Nepal, highlighting the growth since the deployment of the Nepali Army and the drop in numbers when the Army efforts have been constrained.

The table shows the current deployment of Nepali Army in conservation of nature:

Name of Protected Area Location
Kosi Tappu Wildlife Reserve Kushaha
Sagarmatha National Park Namche
Chitwan National Park Kasara
Parsa Wildlife Reserve Adhabhar
Chitwan National Park, Western Sector. Nawalaparasi
Lamtang National Park Dhunche
Rara National Park Mugu
She-Phoksundo National Park Dolpa
Bardiya National Park Bardiya
Khaptad National Park Bajura
Suklaphata Wildlife Reserve Kanchanpur
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park Nagarjun
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park Shivapuri

The main responsibilities of the Nepali Army in conservation of nature have been broadly outlined as follows:

  1. Protection duties for Nature Conservation:
    1. Patrolling inside National Park and Wild Life Reserves.
    2. Controlling encroachment, illegal poaching and deforestation.
  2. Support in Nature Conservation Research Works:
    1. Providing manpower in counting wildlife census.
    2. Providing necessary information regarding nature conservation
    3. Supporting rehabilitation of wild species
  3. Social Services:
    With the aim of winning the hearts and minds of the people and to generate their awareness towards nature conservation, the Army has been providing the following social services:
    1. Massive afforestation.
    2. Repair and renovation of schools, shrines, assist health centers in buffer zones and within National Parks and Wild Life Reserves.
    3. Medical care
    4. Water supply
    5. Support in construction of bridges, short stretched roads.
  4. Disaster Management:
    The Nepali Army by virtue of location and organization is able to rapidly come to the assistance of the victims of calamities. .

  5. Human Resources Development:
    Preparation and provision of trained manpower for the Nature Conservation education, training in Buffer Zones, National Parks and Wildlife Reserves.

    Rehabilitation Center

    Basketball Tournament for Rahabitational

    The internal conflict which raged for over a decade in Nepal has left a lasting wound. Thousands of lives were lost and thousands have been left disabled. During the conflict, various hospitals provided the much needed medical support. However, little follow up was possible after discharge. Thus there is no reliable data on those wounded, disabled or their degree of disability. Some of these victims have been deprived of their livelihood. The lack of data has been an obstacle in the formulation of any policies in this regard.

    A comprehensive nationwide rehabilitation program is required in the country. Such a program should include physical rehabilitation, psychological rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation and social awareness programs. Realizing this need of the nation, the Nepali Army has established a national rehabilitation center with the help of the Government of Nepal. This center seeks to cater to all the above mentioned areas. The Army will be responsible for running this center. The main purpose of the center is to have the following:

    • Surveillance Team
    • Physiotherapy unit
    • Artificial limb and appliance workshop
    • Psychotherapy unit
    • Paraplegic home
    • General ward-50 bedded (For amputees coming for prosthesis, disabled those need physiotherapy and orthosis).
    • Vocational training centre for various trade groups.

    Achievements to Date

    • The Nepali Army has provided 4.02 acre of land in Chhauni (valued at Rs 256 million). The Government has allocated Rs 30 million for construction of building.
    • The government has committed a further Rs 22 million for establishment of a physiotherapy unit and the necessary furniture.
    • The Nepali Army has also provided Rs 2 million for office furnishing and air conditioning of the physiotherapy hall.

    Although tasks such as assisting development activities, conservation of nature, disaster management, etc have been viewed as secondary roles, the contributions of the Nepali Army in such areas are unparalleled in the country. In fact, the Army is actually viewed as the lead actor in many of these roles. Thus it would only be but fair to state that the Nepali Army is an indivisible and essential partner of the Nepalese people and society in many diverse areas.

    Disaster Management

    Nepal Army Disaster Management

    The official definition of a disaster according to the Government of Nepal is a major incident which causes a serious disruption to life, arising with little or no warning, causing or threatening death or serious injury to, or rendering homeless, such numbers of persons in excess of those which can be dealt with by public services operating under normal procedures, and which calls for the special mobilization and organization of those services". The Government of Nepal has judiciously also added 'environmental degradation' as a disaster in the making.

    The Government of Nepal views the Nepali Army as an inseparable agency in Disaster Relief Operations. Examples of the particular suitability and capability of the armed forces to respond effectively to such incidents abound in Nepalese history. Furthermore, Nepal's status as a developing country does not justify the high costs of maintaining a separate disaster relief organization. Consequently, the Nepali Army plays a major role in providing emergency assistance to needy people all over the country - a role that has become even more important in the present context.

    Primary Roles Of The Nepali Army In Disaster Management

    Nepali Army has historically provided vital relief during floods, earthquakes, avalanches, fires, landslides, air and other transportation disasters. The primary roles of the Nepali Army in disaster relief are:

    • Search & Rescue Missions
    • Medical assistance & Evacuation, Air Rescue
    • Mass evacuation, flood control etc.
    Nepali Army Rescue Flood Victims
    Nepali Army to the rescue

    Listed below is a mere sampling of some of the incidents in which the Nepali Army has come to the assistance of served the people in this regard:

    • In 1934 a devastating earthquake hit Nepal. The Nepali Army helped evacuate, and temporarily house thousands of people.
    • A huge fire broke out in Singha Darbar in 1971 AD, in which is located the Prime Minister's Office and many other important government offices. The Nepali Army was called in to help control the fire. The fire was eventually put out saving a historical building and a trove of important documents.
    • In 1988, torrential rains washed away large portions of the Arniko Highway (the sole road link to China) in the 11 Km Lamosangu – Barhabise Road section. The Nepali Army was mobilised to completely rebuild a 6 Km road section.
    • An earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale occurred in Nepal with its epicenter in Udaypur on 21st August 1988. Sunsari, Jhapa, Dhankuta, Bhojpur, Okhaldhunga, Khotang, Illam, Panchthar, Taplejung, Bhaktapur, Sindhuli, Dolakha and Ramechhap were affected. It left 722 dead, 1421 seriously wounded and 11000 injured. The Nepali Army helped in evacuation, first aid, distribution of relief material and reconstruction.
    • On 5th Nov 1989, a passenger bus fell into the Trishuli River at Jogimara. The Army team was immediately dispatched to the site for recovery operations.
    • In 1993 torrential rainfall affected Taplejung, Panchthar, Sindhuli, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Makwanpur, Chitwan and Dhading. The Nepali Army was mobilized and 3842 severely effected people were evacuated and another 201 people received medical treatment from the Army. The roads connecting Kathmandu to the rest of the country were washed away. The Army repaired the Thribhuvan and Prithivi highways. Combat engineers erected Bailey bridges over Malekhu and Belkhu. A diversion was built at Mahadevbesi.
    • The Nepali Army pulled off a breathtaking aerial rescue operation on 15th May 1995, just above Camp 1 in Mt Everest that found a place in the record books. An American citizen, Sirbon B of the Swedish Everest expedition and Makalu Gab of the Chinese Taipei Everest Expedition were evacuated by a helicopter from an altitude of 19200 feet.
    • In November 1995, unusually heavy rainfall in Manang caused landslides and avalanches that stranded hundreds of people. The Army was mobilized and along with the helicopters of some other airlines, rescued 538 people. A further 48 dead bodies, 26 Nepali and 22 foreign, were recovered.
    • On 13th October 1995, a passenger bus fell in the river some 10 Km to the West of Dipayal. The Nepali Army team that reached the site managed to evacuate 22 passengers and helped in the recovery of the bus from the river.
    • In July 1996, torrential rainfall caused flooding of Sunsari, Biratnagar, Jhapa, Kaski, Sindhupalchok, Baglung and Lalitpur. The Army mobilized over 1000 rescue teams.
    • On 21st August 1998, a Twin Otter aircraft, 9N ACC, operated by Yeti Airlines was lost on the way to Pokhara from Jomsong. Aircraft and ground troops of the Nepali Army were successfully mobilized to locate the aircraft.
    • On 25th December 1999, an aircraft with 12 people on board crached in Makwanpur. Army helicopters were mobilized to recover the dead bodies and hand them over to the families of the deceased.
    • In the monsoons of 2002, heavy rainfalls resulted in the flooding of vast areas of central and eastern Nepal. About 20 companies were mobilized for the relief effort, and in one instance in Ramechhap, the relief team had to advance through the insurgents then waging an armed struggle against the state.
    • In May 2007, the Army successfully recovered the bodies of 16 people buried by heavy snowfall in the extreme altitudes of Tyanke Lek in Dolpa.
    • In 2007, heavy rainfall resulted in wide spread floods and landslides in Taplejung, Jhapa, Bhojpur, Saptari, Mahottari, Dhanusa, Kathmandu, Gorkha, Kaski, Syangja, Parbat, Baglung, Gulmi, Dang, Salyan, Jajarkot, Banke, Bardiya, Kailali, Baitadi and Darchula. Army ground and air assets consisting of 2885 personnel were mobilized. Over 10,000 people were rescued and provided medical treatment.
    • In August 2008, river Kosi eroded the Eastern dyke near Kusaha and spilled over to change its course of flow. In the resultant flood the Nepali Army rescued 15,060 persons from the inundated areas. Of these 704 persons were rescued by helicopter and 356 were rescued by boat. As this book was being prepared, in September 2008, the Army was heavily mobilized in flood relief operations in the Far West region of the country.
    • In September 2008, the Army was heavily mobilized in flood relief operations in the Far- West region of the country.
    • In Jan 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti. The Nepali Peacekeepers deployed there were effectively mobilized in search and rescue, provided medical assistance, provided security and escort in distribution of relief materials and assisted in management of displaced people.