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The Military Riddle

The Chief of Army Pyar Jung Thapa’s recent statement that the Maoists could be incorporated in the Nepalese Army has brought an important question to the forefront. What is to be done with the large Army and Armed Police forces, and the Maoists guerillas?

Altogether, a total of almost 125, 000 people are in the national security apparatus. Add to that an estimated 10,000 Maoist foot soldiers. For a country as small as ours, this is indeed an extremely large number. To accommodate this population in the Army and police forces is going to be extremely expensive and perhaps also inefficient. Furthermore, army as an institution should be weakened in power in a country that considers itself a zone of peace. While the numbers have to be reduced, these people cannot just be released of duty – unemployed and without dignity. A viable solution has to be found.

Voluntary Retirement

A very plausible solution is to offer voluntary retirement to the security forces. As it is, many want to leave the forces. If they are provided with a good incentive, they will opt for foreign employment or work for private security firms. Incentives could include monetary help as well as vocational training for alternative professions. However, given the limited number of jobs in both the domestic and foreign markets and the fierce competition, this solution will not in itself provide a total solution, but may greatly help in reducing the numbers.

Demilitarizing the Army

Another option is to keep the forces intact, but instead of gun-totting jobs, to use them in development projects, such as nature conservation projects and reconstruction. The security forces are a disciplined lot and have proved in the past how adept they are at such projects. The Maoists too must be disciplined. They know the forests well, and may prove to be very helpful in conservation efforts. They too should also be assimilated in the forces and then used in similar projects.


The Army can also send in increased numbers to international peacekeeping missions, but this is dependent on external factors (the UN), and we cannot possibly send substantially large numbers, enough to solve the problem.

I believe a combination of these proposed solution will help reduce the number and also in a reconstruction process. Also important is the need to diversify the army with a representative numbers on the top brass as in the bottom. Despite the large numbers among the lower ranks, certain ethnicities are barely represented in positions of power. Similarly, some ethnicities are altogether absent in the army due to Panchayat era policies. The army is also one of the most oligarchic institutions with almost all high posts monopolized by a few families.

Without doubt, the security apparatus in Nepal will have to undergo radical changes in the days to come. Diversifying the army, assimilating the Maoists, equal representation, and reducing the numbers are the most pressing. The constituent assembly will have to give careful thought to the military riddle if it to sustain a democratic government without any immediate threat to the sovereignty of the people.

(Please use the comments section to suggest your solutions.)

0 thoughts on “The Military Riddle

  1. My gist:
    It is not hygienic and seems too early to hash out the issue ahead of time. Yes it true; The Military Riddle… but isn’t it quite soon to make an outcome for this.

    “A victory won on points when no knockout has occurred.”

    Of Course a practicable and feasible solution have to be puzzle out. It is not only the concerned of the Maoists to be incorporated in the Nepalese Army. What about those who are the sufferers?

    One Part: Military Riddle
    Another:…………. “Must not ignore”

    Who will pay the death? and how? This is another portion of the coin we can not neglected either.

    Sire; people wounds are festering, and we cannot deny let us pray not for another such paradigm. Recognize with the gesture prescribed by a military regulation might be the immediate solution. Let us think collectively for the Maoists and the Victims in the parallel way.

    I agreed Daulat
    ” However, given the limited number of jobs in both the domestic and foreign markets and the fierce competition, this solution will not in itself provide a total solution, but may greatly help in reducing the numbers.”
    Let us be positive; forces will come to streamline. But I too am not sure. They keen on switching!!!

    Let this end the end for another such paradigm.

  2. Yes daulat,
    after this historical ‘janaandolan’,
    monarchy is sure to get kicked out (sooner or later) and maoists problem is expected to settle (let’s hope for the best),and now
    we have to concentrate on rebuilding our nation.

    people everywhere are now with hopes and energy for better Nepal.
    We all have to work for the peace and prosperity of New democratic Nepal. Nepali people have already suffered a lot. Now, this is the time to make a great leap forward.

    I support your idea of moderating army .
    I also feel the pain of the communities who have been deprived of access in the Nepal Army.( really hurts their nationality and identity)
    In new Nepal, the nation should not work as extension of gorkha rajya but as a real nation addressing all diversities, minorities,ethnicities, casts, religions and cultures.
    True democracy can only flourish in the base of equality and fraternity.
    We all know that diversity is the main attribute of this nation.
    “If we cannot end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”

  3. Who knows? Too early to talk about this. I am cautiously optimistic. I am not sure that the Maoist will ever agree to come to the mainstream multi-party democracy. They are on and off. They keep on changing their stand. When we had multi-party in place, they wanted to negotiate with the King. When the King became absolute, they certainly did not show interest to speak with the King. I can understand and appreciate that. Now, the parties are back on the driving seat and the Maoists do not seem to be excited towards the possible resolution. They want “unonditional” constituent assembly election. That is next to “impossible”. We can’t have consituent assembly election without them agreeing to submit arms and joining the interim government. I do not see “easily accessible” meeitng point. It is tough road ahead, my friend.

    I do not see meeting points unless the Maoists are further weakened and government security forces are further strengthened. The new government needs help. We can’t negotiate with the Maoists when they can threaten to shut off our highways. We need to show our strength and unity and government needs to create jobs.

    Too soon to worry about their army merging with ours.


  4. Dedicated forest rangers coming from a martial background is indeed a good idea and may be much more effective for overall conservation efforts.

    Another spin-off can be akin to India’s Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) – that can be appointed to protect public infrastructure – dams, hydro projects, communicatin centers etc. – throughout the country.

    I would also suggest augmenting the “Tourist Police” department – barely noticable in Kathmandu now – to ensure a more visible presence throughout the country including in remote areas frequented by internal and external tourists.

    Most of the above are currently entrusted to the general Army and Police but would definitely benefit from the formation of specialized para-military units.

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