Nepalese Army Day 2020 took place on 21 February at Tundikhel in Kathmandu, Nepal. The principal UK guest for this event was the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), General Sir Mark, Carleton-Smith KCB CBE ADC Gen, who has attended several other key events and meetings in Nepal to confirm and bond the relationship between the UK and Nepal.
Upon arrival at the event CGS was met by his Nepalese counterpart, the Nepalese Army Chief of Army Staff, General Purna Chandra Thapa. They warmly greeted each other and CGS commented how impressive the parade looked as he arrived through the gates and excited his car.
Britain has recruited Gurkhas from Nepal for over 200 years. This year the Brigade of Gurkhas recruited 432 new Gurkhas from 12,000 applicants, the largest number for many years. CGS was the inspecting officer for their Attestation parade that took place on the 18 February in Pokhara.
The Nepalese Army Day is an annual event coinciding with the Hindu's festival Maha Shivaratri as per the lunar calendar. It is celebrated to honour; courage, patriotism and military professionalism and to recall the sacrifices made by brave soldiers for the people and nation.
The chief guest was Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who is also the Nepal Army's Supreme Commander. She is also the first woman to hold this office in Nepal. Also in attendance was the Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who visited the UK in 2019 making some key office calls in London and visiting the Headquarters Brigade of Gurkhas at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to hear first-hand how the British Army employs and supports the Gurkhas.
The Nepalese Army Day included a display by battalions from across their Army, gun salutes, music from the Nepali Army Band, presentation of Colours, helicopter fly past and a drive past of some of the vehicles and equipment used by the Nepalese Army around the world including on UN missions.
Also, in attendance from the British Army was; the British Defence Attaché, Deputy Colonel Commandant Brigade of Gurkhas and Colonel Brigade of Gurkhas.