Country report and updates: Nepal

Last revision: 14 Apr 1998
14 Apr 1998

1 Conscription

conscription does not exist

Conscription has never existed in Nepal.

There are no known plans to introduce conscription, as voluntary applications to join the armed forces are sufficient to achieve the requisite number of recruits.

There are no known laws to provide for conscription in time of emergency or wartime. [2]

The government stated in 1994 that recruitment into the Royal Nepalese Army service is carried out with the consent of the concerned person and that forced recruitment is not allowed by law in Nepal. [1]


Legal enlistment age is between 18 and 23.

Officially enlistment into the armed forces is open to all Nepalese, regardless of caste, religion or ethnic background. However, most recruits are drawn from the ethnic and caste groups in the mountainous areas and the Kathmandu valley. The authorities assume these groups are not likely to feel any loyalty towards India. These groups also formed the traditional pool of recruits when Nepal was under British rule. Residents in the Taria region, the so-called 'midlanders', have actually complained about official recruitment. They constitute some 40 percent of the population, but are underrepresented in the armed forces and police. [2]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no known legal provision for conscientious objection.

3 Desertion

No information available.

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces are 46,000-strong - that is, 0.20 percent of the population. [4]


[1] UN Commission on Human Rights 1994. Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1993/84 (and Addendum). United Nations, Geneva. [2] US Library of Congress 1991. Nepal - a country study. Area Handbooks, State Department, Washington DC. [3] Hutt, Michael (ed.) 1994. Nepal in the Nineties: Versions of the past, visions of the future. Oxford University Press, Delhi. [4] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London.

Recent stories on conscientious objection: Nepal

01 Jun 2009

The Kathmandu Post reported on 19 May on a concept paper of a sub-committee of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal which recommends the introduction of conscription. According to the recommendation, all able Nepali citizens will be conscripted into the Army at the age of 18. The conscripts will have to undergo compulsory military training for a period of two years.