Very little is known about Nepal except for its beautiful mountains. Still less is known about its people, their poverty and underdevelopment and its fallout–the Maoist uprising. Even less has been heard about the Royal Nepal Army (RNA), till the Maoists pulled it out from its barracks. Reluctantly, RNA transformed from a ceremonial, mainly UN Peacekeeping Force into a field army, struggling to find the will and wherwithal to meet the challenge posed by the Maoists. The RNA is the creation of the feudal Rana and Shah rulers to whom it swears allegiance. After the February 1, 2005 Royal coup, the King has placed centre stage, the RNA, the symbol of his moral, political and divine powers, all rolled into one. The Maosit war is about rolling back the feudal order, establishing a multi-party democratic republic with a reformed RNA under civilian control.
The challenge for the RNA is in regaining eighty per cent of land under Maoist control and winning back the people swayed by the Maosit cause. With democratic institutions snuffed out, this is a tall order. The Maoists are unlikely to take Kathmandu because their power to intimidate and terrorise is far greater than their finite military capacity. In the ongoing war, a stalemate has not been reached.
The Royal Nepal Army: Meeting the Maoist Challenge tells you not only the story of the Maoist uprising, but also for the first time, why the RNA was not used sooner to counter the Maoists.
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