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National Seminar on Civil Military (Security) Relation in Nepal: Prospects for Modernization

Organized by Nepal Ex-Police Organization (EPO)

1 April 2011

by Chetana Lokshum Shrestha


Nepal Retd. Police Organization (NRPO) and Saugat Legal Research Consultancy (SLRC) has organized one day seminar on "National Seminar on Civil Military (Security) Relation in Nepal: Prospects for Modernization," on April 1, 2011 (Chaitra 18, 2067), Friday, Kathmandu, Nepal. The programme was supported by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a non profit, private education organization, committed to the concepts and the basic values of democratic socialism. FES was founded in 1925 in Germany for freedom, justice and solidarity, based in Kathmandu.

The programme was chaired and attended by senior leaders of various political parties, professors, high ranking officials (former and serving) Police organization, Nepalese Army, Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department (NID-intelligence service), and civil servants. Journalists, NGO members, academicians, students of Security Management, Kathmandu University and other stake holders of the society are also present in the seminar. There were altogether 125 participants.

Seminar was divided into two folds; inauguration and paper presentation along with floor discussion and recommendations.

Opening Ceremony

Dr Chuda Bahadur Shrestha (SSP, Retd., Nepal Police), Senior Vice President, Nepal Retd. Police Organization and executive member of Saugat Legal Research Consultancy (SLRC) welcomed the dignitaries and participants with objective highlights of the programme. He recalled and thanked FES-Nepal for supporting NRPO/SLRC to organize previous seminars; Democracy, State Building, Constitution Assembly, Electoral Process and Security" (2007), "National Security Policies, areas of Security System Reform and Civil- Security Relations of Nepal" (2008), "National Interest, Security Policy and Civil-Military Relation in Nepal," (2009), and "Civil Military (Security) Relation in the context of Nation/State Building of Nepal," (2010) respectively. He further put his view on the importance of organizing this seminar on "National Seminar on Civil Military (Security) Relation in Nepal: Prospects for Modernization,"(2011) so as to have full length discussion in understanding current security scenarios of Nepal and to make aware all the key stakeholders regarding to it.

Mr. Dev Raj Dahal-Head of FES-Nepal and a noted Scholar and Political Scientist, welcomed the participants on behalf of FES and emphasized on overall health of society (life, liberty, property and pursuit). He further highlighted the importance of persevering state sovereignty, national interest, institutional development and accountable stakeholders in post conflict reconstruction. Therefore, he urged to develop environment for security, political and economic stabilization, drafting of a new constitution, distribution and deliberation of peace dividends is a common aspiration of the Nepalese people.

Chief Guest of the opening ceremony, Honorable Former Minister Mr. Arjun Narsingh K.C. , Central Member and leader of the Nepali Congress, highlighted the importance of the seminar on civil military relation in the current security and political situation of Nepal. He stressed on the need of collaborative efforts and support of, serving and former security persons in formulating National Security Policy to strengthen security for sustainable Peace Building Processes.

Chairperson of the programme, Mr. D.B. Lama IGP, (Retd. Nepal Police), President of Nepal Ex. Police Organization, remarked on the need of strengthening grassroots level community security to achieve overall goal of national security. He further appealed to create a joint forum of Nepal Retd. Police Organization and other Ex Service Organizations; Nepalese Army, Armed Police Force and Civil, for enhancing current security of the country. He extended gratitude towards FES-Nepal for providing support in organizing such National Seminars from last 5 years (2007-2011) and hoped to be continued in future.

Paper Presentation and Discussion Sessions

There were three sessions in the seminar. First session was chaired by eminent scholar Mr. Hiranyalal Shrestha, Former Member of Parliament and Nepalese Ambassador for Russia. As a Chair, Mr. Shrestha overviewed the criticalities of Nepalese current transitional security situations and the importance of media role in preserving national interests. As a former diplomat and senior journalist, he also opined a need of balanced diplomatic relations between giant neighbours; China and India including integrated border security management. He further suggested that security organizations should provide need to know information in transparent manner so as to build better understanding/harmonious relation between media and security.

Senior Journalist/Political Analyst, Mr. Saurav R. Satyal, presented a paper on "Media's Role in Improving Trust between Civil-Military (Security) Relations," cited various examples of; disinformation, miscommunication, blowing up an issues (intentionally and unintentionally), role of Free press and NGOs, languages, rumor and propaganda, media Vs security, etc.. He focused on the need to work out in developing mutual understanding between each other's responsibilities for persevering national interests and overall security of Nepalese society. Full text of this paper is in Annex -II a.

In this session, Professor Dr. Tone Bleie (PhD in Social Anthropology and Director for the Centre for Peace Studies and heads the International resource Group on Reintegration), highlighted on the contemporary security issues of Nepal with her field experiences and about the book published, 2010, "Fresh insights on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration: A survey for Practitioners in Nepal, Kathmandu (she is one of the researcher and writer). This book was distributed to all the participants of the seminar.

Floor Discussion

Each sessions were followed by floor discussion. In the first session, Former Secretary of Government of Nepal, Mr. Madhav P. Ghimire, suggested that there is a need of national policy and guidance for strengthening media and security relations in strategic and operational matters of security concerns. Former Additional Inspector General of Police (AIGP), Mr. Roop Sagar Moktan shared how he was victimized by media with baseless news during the People's Movement 2006, hence he suggested that there should be media code of conduct in relation to security related news. Former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP), Mr. Narayan Sharma Acharya also commented media misinformation in public creating a gap between reality and rumor. Colonel, Surendra B. Sijapati, briefed the activities of Public Relation Directorate of Nepalese Army which addresses bridging the gaps between public and army. Finally paper presentator Mr. Saurav Satyal and the chairperson Mr. Hiranyalal Shrestha responded the quarries with closing remarks of the First Session.

Chairperson of the Second session was Prof. Ananda Aditya, Chair, Pragya Foundation and Chelsea Int. Academy, reflected on historical security prospective of Nepal, glorious images of Gorkhas (11 Victoria Cross recipient during the II world war) and the recent example (2010), of bravery shown by Nepali Citizen but serving in Indian Army, Gorkha Regiment, Nayak (corporal), Mr. Bishnu P. Shrestha, Pokhara (Kantipur National Daily, January 11,2011), Nepal. In other hand, due to the politicalization of crime and criminalization in politics, Nepal's security situation is in deteriorating stage. He also commented that politics is not the profession but should be guided by three principles; Dharma, Karma and Sewa, therefore, Nepalese politicians should be guided with these principles for the prospect of strengthening National Image and Current Security.

Conflict and Security Management Expert, Dr. Chuda Bahadur Shrestha, presented the second paper on, "Nepal's Current Security Scenarios and Prospects of Strengthening." He highlighted on historical prospective of Nepal's State Formation, Third world and Nepal Security Scenarios, in relation to Political (from 1846-2011), Economic, Industrial and Infrastructural, Ecology and Environmental security. He further emphasized on chronic problem of Energy Crisis, Population Pressure, lack of essential service deliveries massive

Displacement and Migration of unemployed youth from rural to urban that is creating massive insecurity in Nepal. Similarly, he also focused on increasing trends of Corruption/Nepotism, Politicalization of Crime, Insurgency movements, Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime with Proliferation of illegal small arms and improvised explosives have greatly deteriorated internal security of the country. In the same manner poor implementation or non-existence of Road Safety Audit System have resulted fatal Road Traffic Accidents that increases number of deaths and casualties (especially young drivers and pedestrians). Lastly, he recommended the need of integrated security management from national to local level with strengthening public people partnership and with the evaluation of security performance audit to overcome security challenges of Nepal.

Floor Discussion

In the second session, altogether 13 participants took part in the floor discussion. Former Secretary of Government of Nepal, Mr. Madhav P. Ghimire, shared his views on the deteriorating security situation of Nepal after 2006 due to the political instability. Superintendent of Police (SP), Mr. Birendra Shrestha of Nepal Police urged the need to strengthen community policing concept to enhance community safety, crime prevention and building police community relations. Mrs. Sabitri Lama, shared her experiences on the security and intelligence system of Burma (visited in 2006) where women are involved in business and can travel with full of ornaments without fear of robbery or looting. This showed the strong security situation of that country. Deputy Inspector General of Armed Police Force (DIGP), Mr. Krishna Kumar Tamang, suggested that there should be cut- down criminal and high level political nexus to strengthen transitional security situation of Nepal. High School Teacher, Mrs. Madavi Katuwal, commented that after 2006, political parties backed criminal armed groups, creating insecurity in the community therefore, she suggested there should be a controlling mechanism without political interference to the security agencies. Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. D.B. Lama gave his view to strengthen police and security agencies by establishing and promoting community policing in the grass-root level. Former Deputy Superintend of Police (DSP), Mr. Krishna P. Kadel, highlighted the current trend of joint involvement of parents, teachers and students in creating cheating environment in examination which ultimately lead dishonestly of the citizen and increase criminal activities, hence he recommended that there should be civic and peace education to the youth, teachers and parents as well.

Chairperson and the paper presentator responded accordingly to the quarries and recommendation.

Chairperson of the Third session, Honorable Mr. Kamal Thapa, Former Minister and Chairperson of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Nepal, highlighted historical and glorious role of Nepalese Army from the unification days (King Prithavi Narayan Shah, 1769) to the date. He commented that this institution (Nepalese Army) is the main guardian of the national security, therefore increasing the quantity and strengthening the quality in a must. He further stated that nowadays though people say that Nepal does not have national security policy in written form, he feels it is incorrect to say so because according to him, security policy has always been guided by National Main Policy (Rastriya Mul Neeti), values and culture of national interests to preserve national sovereignty and independence from its unification. Hence, we should not forget this policy that had been in practice for so many years.

Major General (Retd.) Shivaram Pradhan, Nepalese Army presented third paper on, "National Security Policies and Modernization of Nepalese Army." He highlighted the need of Formulation of Nepal's National Security Policy with identifying vital national interests, Threats to these interests and To create adequate power to meet these threats and security challenges. He further recalled on Historical background of Nepal's National Security Strategy (NSS) over the last 240 years with the notion of "Yam between two Boulders," as a guiding principle of Nepal's foreign policy and locus of survival. He also mentioned strong National Security Environment between 1769-1816 AD and the policy of isolation during Rana Regime (1846-1951) along with 1985 National Policy known as Rastriya Mulneeti that included foreign policy and defense during the Panchayat Government. He also pointed out that after the restoration of multiparty system in 1990 and 2006 People's Movement have changed political system in Nepal but national security policy could not be formulated and attempt to modernizing Nepalese Army. Gen. Pradhan stated that Nepalese Army, regarded as an important elements of national power ever since the establishment of a unified Nepal have been providing a solid foundation for the preservation of the national interests even in the absence of a comprehensive written National Security Policy. So, he has recommended a need of written national security policy with strengthening and modernizing Nepalese Army as more efficient and competent enough to safeguard the national interests and objectives.

Floor Discussion

In the third session, Lt. Col. (Retd.), Ek Bahadur KC, commented that there should be an address of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) along with propose of Security Sector Reform (SSR). Former Principal of Higher Secondary School, Mr. Laxmi Prasad Bhandari, focused on the need of civil military relation in line of protecting national interests and sovereignty of the country. Former IGP, Mr. D. B. Lama suggested the need of Nepalese Army Act to ensure transparency, accountability and responsibility of the working behaviours of the army personnel. Brigadier General of Nepalese Army, Mr. Ramesh Bista, clarified that Nepalese Army Act, 2006, has all the provisions that came up in the floor.

Chairperson and the paper presentator responded accordingly to the quarries and recommendations.

Feedback and Conclusion

Overall feedback of the participants are

  • Seminars as these will work as a bridge to fill up the gap between civil and military/security relation during this transitional situation of the country.
  • Seminar provided a floor to create media responsiveness and the need of well briefed spoke-person to communicate relevant messages to the people in relation to security matters.
  • Seminar was able to sensitize political leaders, concerned stakeholders and members of civil society to develop a control and preventive mechanism for preventing criminal political nexus, minimizing political interference in security apparatus, and also to make policy to prevent unintentional death and injuries like fatal Road Traffic Accidents (RTA).
  • Seminar also helped to understand the need of community policing, youth peace education for safety and security.
  • Seminar helped to recognize the role of Nepalese Army right from the state building of Nepal and its contribution in home and abroad for maintaining peace, security and development.
  • Seminars as these should be more in future for it gives a floor to clarify from both the ends at various level.
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