Is the Nepalese Army the most inclusive armed force in the world?
Bhrikuti Rai / December 24, 2015
On December 15, 2015, Defense Minister Bhim Rawal said that the Nepalese Army is the most inclusive armed force in the world. He said, “I reiterate that there is no military force as inclusive as Nepal’s with proportionate representation of 125 ethnic groups; there isn’t any armed force in the world as inclusive as ours….” Watch Rawal’s video .
South Asia Check examined Rawal’s claim by looking into the following two aspects:
- Is the Nepalese Army’s structure the most inclusive in the world?
- Are the legal provisions relating to Nepalese Army the most inclusive in the world?
These two aspects were examined on the bases of:
- Representation of different ethnic groups in the Nepalese Army
- Women’s representation in the Nepalese Army
Is the Nepalese Army the most inclusive armed force in the world given its present structure?
According to the Nepalese Army website, the ethnic makeup of the Nepalese Army is as follows:
|State of Castes/Ethnic Inclusion in the Nepalese Army
(As of June 25, 2014)
|S.No.||Caste/Ethnic Groups||Population (2011 Census)||% of total Population||(%) of Total Representation in NA|
According to a 2012 report by the US Department of Defense 30.3 per cent of the military force identified themselves as minorities which is more in proportion to their population of almost 23 per cent. See US census report.
Similarly in India the representation of people from various states isn’t proportionate to their population.
According to the figures provided by India’s Defense Ministry, Uttar Pradesh is the only state with proportionate representation in the Indian Armed Forces. The most populous state of Uttar Pradesh with 16.49 percent of India’s total population sends the most number of recruits representing 14 percent of the Indian Armed Forces.
Less populous states like Rajasthan (5.6 percent of the population), Punjab (2.3 percent of the population), Maharashtra (9.2 percent of the population) each have 7-8 percent representation in the Indian Armed Forces, and Andhra Pradesh state with 4.08 percent of the total population has 6 percent representation.
According to the Nepalese Army, women comprise almost 3.5 percent of the total force as of November, 2015.
While representation of women in the Nepalese Army is higher than in the Indian Armed Forces, it is nowhere as inclusive as the US armed forces.
Therefore given its present structure, the claim that the Nepalese Army is the most inclusive armed force in the world is wrong.
Is the Nepalese Army the most inclusive military force in the world in terms of the legal provisions relating to it?
Following the amendment to the Army Act in 2006, 45 percent of the positions in the army have been reserved for various groups listed below:
Group Reserved seats
Indigenous groups 32%
Remote area 5%
South Asia check studied the legal provisions related to armed forces of several countries but could not ascertain whether the Nepalese Army is the most inclusive or not.
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