Kathmandu: Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) of the Nepali Army Prabhu Ram Sharma’s remark over the issue of restructuring the national army has created a fresh debate in the country.
On Thursday, Sharma expressed his dissatisfaction over the discourse initiated by, in his own words, “outsiders” that there is a need to “right-sizing” the national army. ‘Under whose direction, do some outsiders time and again make comments regarding the required number of Nepali Army?’ He asked.
Addressing the Nepali Army Ex-Servicemen Convention-2023 in Pokhara, Sharma dubbed the debate of right-sizing the national army as ‘hilarious.’
Without explicitly mentioning the names of International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGOs) and national civil society organizations, he said: “The government determines the required size of Nepali Army but not by self-proclaimed academics, experts and security experts associated with INGO and NGO.”
Recently, Himal Khabar Patrika had published a long story regarding the size of the Nepali Army. Though Sharma did not mention the name of any media, he heavily criticized the attempt of misinformation and disinformation regarding the Nepal Army.
It is quite unusual to see the Chief of the Army Staff commenting on the discourse on civic platforms, a Nepali Congress leader told Nepal Live Today. “It also goes against the people’s right to comment on public institutions.”
The government has not yet made any comment on the matter. Nepal’s social media sphere and intellectuals, however, have expressed concern over the Army chief’s statement.
“It is not desirable to see CoAS involved in the blame game. He should produce evidence if any forces are directing Nepal’s intellectuals or experts to discredit the institution. Otherwise, making baseless allegations makes no sense,” a security expert told Nepal Live Today on condition of anonymity.
“We have envisaged a system of civilian supremacy. If there is any comment and grievances, it should come through the Ministry of Defense, not from army officials,” he added.