HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Chief of Army Staff Gen Chhatraman Singh Gurung today said the existing structure of Nepali Army was obsolete and in dire need of restructuring.
Speaking before Parliamentary State Affairs Committee today, CoAS Gen Gurung said the present structure was 47-year-old and could not function properly in the changed context. SAC had summoned Defence Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and CoAS Gurung to have their views on NA restructuring.
Stating that NA has huge responsibility to perform for the nation and in the US peacekeeping missions, Gen Gurung was of the opinion that the military force should be structured to make it compatible with international standards, institutionally and professionally.
According to Gen Gurung, NA was last revamped 47 years ago when its total strength was 18,000. Now its ranks have swollen to 92,753. Gurung said NA’s present structure was not compatible with international standards and was hampering effective chain of command. An army taskforce has prepared a report for the restructuring of NA. It has proposed to increase the number of mid-level and top-level officers, besides an improvement in their facilities, which were introduced when the strength of NA was 45,000.
As per the new proposal, there will be four posts of lieutenant generals, 24 major generals, 80 brigadier generals and 147 colonels. At present there are two lieutenant generals, 18 major generals, 70 brigadier generals and 133 colonels.
NA expects that changes in the structure will strengthen relations between Ministry of Defence and NA, improve command and control system and enhance civil-military relations.
In the present structure, CoAS has to deal with too many divisions and there is no uniformity in the division of work between the two lieutenant generals, SAC was told.
NA has prepared a 10-year master plan (till 2018) for developing and upgrading the military infrastructure and organisation. The meeting was told that NA’s 10-year master plan needed more than Rs 118 billion for its full implementation.
Gachhadar told SAC that the process to restructure the army structure was underway, aiming it to make inclusive, democratic and modern.
Defence Secretary Madhav Prasad Regmi and other high-ranking army officials were present in the meeting. Lawmakers in the committee, meanwhile, demanded that the government should first finalise the National Security Policy that would guide the restructuring of the NA.
SAC Chairman Ram Nath Dhakal concluded the meeting by saying the issue needed discussion and decided to convene the next meeting after the lawmakers in the committee have studied the NA proposals on institutional restructuring.