COAS General Sharma, as the Commander in Chief of the Nepal Army, has exemplified humility, embodying the wisdom of Chinese philosopher Confucius who once said, "Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues." Throughout his tenure, which, despite the Nepal Army's illustrious three-century history, spanned only three years, General Sharma has left an indelible mark.
With a modest approach and a gentle demeanor, General Sharma vigorously safeguarded the institution's reputation, making accountability, transparency, and good governance paramount priorities. Under his stewardship, the institution's past glory and prestige were not only preserved but also enhanced.
However, upon his promotion to the position of COAS (Chief of Army Staff) of the Nepal Army, General Sharma encountered a slew of immediate challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on Nepal's economy, significantly impacting critical projects like the Kathmandu-Terai-Madhesh Expressway construction led by the Nepal Army.
Moreover, simmering complaints of violent activities hinted at a less-than-ideal state of law and order. Organizational restructuring of the security apparatus was imperative following the state's own restructuring.
Central to General Sharma's mission was the improvement of the welfare of both serving and retired Nepal Army members. Additional areas of focus included strengthening disaster response capabilities, cultivating amicable relationships with neighboring and international militaries, and prioritizing the augmentation of peacekeeping forces.
To comprehensively address the welfare of Nepal Army personnel, a scheme was implemented, offering incentives in the realms of housing, entrepreneurship, education, and healthcare.
General Sharma's restructuring efforts increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nepalese Army in its role of defending the nation. These reforms had to contend with a range of internal and external challenges, including a well-planned media campaign against the Nepal Army, debates on Indo-US Pacific relations, contract disputes regarding the Fast Track tunnel, and political discussions on downsizing the military.
In the face of an organized attack against the institution, General Sharma, as the CoAS, displayed remarkable leadership by uniting serving and retired personnel, government officials, civil society, and media to counter attempts to tarnish the army's reputation.
Despite limitations in nominal budgets the previous year, the government pledged increased funding for the Nepal Army in the current year, ensuring its continued success.
General Sharma's tenure was marked by another significant achievement—successfully overseeing two elections within the Nepal Army. While some challenges linger, General Sharma has navigated the century-old institution through turbulent waters and into calmer seas.
In a reflection of his vision, General Sharma emphasized the importance of diligent preparation, discipline, and experience in the ongoing process of strengthening and improving the military organization. He recognized the ever-evolving environment and the multifaceted challenges that require perpetual attention.
As he commenced his third year in office, General Sharma paid his respects at the heroic memorials in both the Nepal Army Headquarters and Tundikhel, acknowledging the sacrifices of the enlisted personnel and wishing them swift recoveries. He expressed hope that their dedication would inspire their colleagues to continue prioritizing the institution's well-being.
General Sharma underscored the pivotal role played by the Nepali Army in safeguarding Nepal's sovereignty, geographical integrity, independence, national unity, and public confidence since the inception of the unification campaign. He extended his gratitude to the civil servants and their families who serve in the Nepali Army.
Furthermore, he called upon the troops to remain dedicated to Nepal's advancement and the welfare of its people, while remaining vigilant against groups with vested interests seeking to destabilize the environment with unfounded and biased arguments, as well as planned and sponsored ambitions that could have both short-term and long-term consequences.
Throughout his addresses to Nepal's army, General Sharma unwaveringly championed the cause of the nation and the Nepalese armed forces. He acknowledged the significant support and cooperation he received from the Ministry of Defense and expressed his anticipation that this collaboration would continue into the future. General Sharma also expressed his gratitude to Nepalis worldwide for their unwavering trust and faith in the army.
General Sharma, Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS), reviewed the progress made during his second year in office and shared plans for future actions during his address to the General Staff. He acknowledged the substantial support and cooperation from the Ministry of Defense, which he anticipates continuing in the future.
The Division Commanders' Coordinating Conference-2080 spanned two days, commencing on September 7, 2023, at the Nepali Army (NA) Headquarters in Bhadrakali. The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Purna Bahadur Khadka as the guest of honor.
Throughout the conference, Department Heads, Director Generals, Division Commanders, and Directors provided comprehensive insights into the current situation, ongoing activities, and encountered challenges within their respective Areas of Responsibility (AoR). This presentation was followed by an interactive session.
The conference addressed various crucial topics, including an analysis of the current security situation, an assessment of NA training effectiveness, a progress report on the command compact by Division Commanders to the COAS, and updates on previously raised issues.
COAS Sharma formally concluded the conference with his guidelines. The event was attended by Principal Staff Officers, Division and Brigade Commanders, and general officers of the Nepali Army.
It was emphasized that the meeting should consider the country's overall situation and identify potential challenges. General Sharma highlighted that this understanding is pivotal for strategy and tactics development.
Furthermore, CoAS General Sharma stressed the importance of discipline and accountability among the participants. He instructed them to fulfill their responsibilities in a standardized manner, within the allotted time, while maintaining effective coordination with the relevant agencies. He expressed his confidence that all members of the organization will strive individually and collectively to uphold the faith and trust of the Nepali people, as the Nepali Army embodies their faith and trust.
Nepalese believe that these recommendations will provide suitable guidance for the development of the Nepali Army's policy and future objectives, which the army has adopted.
"To practice humility, one should minimize self-referential language, refrain from meddling in others' affairs, avoid unnecessary curiosity, accept contradictions and corrections graciously, overlook others' mistakes, remain composed and kind in the face of insults or provocations, not prioritize one's ego, and always opt for the most challenging path."
CoAS General Sharma's gentle and humble nature has been evident, contributing to the safeguarding and strengthening of the institution.