Introduction :: Nepal


During the late 18th-early 19th centuries, the principality of Gorkha united many of the other principalities and states of the sub-Himalayan region into a Nepali Kingdom. Nepal retained its independence following the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16 and the subsequent peace treaty laid the foundations for two centuries of amicable relations between Britain and Nepal. (The Brigade of Gurkhas continues to serve in the British Army to the present day.) In 1951, the Nepali monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system that brought political parties into the government. That arrangement lasted until 1960, when political parties were again banned, but was reinstated in 1990 with the establishment of a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy.

An insurgency led by Maoists broke out in 1996. During the ensuing 10-year civil war between Maoist and government forces, the monarchy dissolved the cabinet and parliament and re-assumed absolute power in 2002, after the crown prince massacred the royal family in 2001. A peace accord in 2006 led to the promulgation of an interim constitution in 2007. Following a nationwide Constituent Assembly (CA) election in 2008, the newly formed CA declared Nepal a federal democratic republic, abolished the monarchy, and elected the country’s first president. After the CA failed to draft a constitution by a 2012 deadline set by the Supreme Court, then-Prime Minister Baburam BHATTARAI dissolved the CA. Months of negotiations ensued until 2013 when the major political parties agreed to create an interim government headed by then-Chief Justice Khil Raj REGMI with a mandate to hold elections for a new CA. Elections were held in 2013, in which the Nepali Congress (NC) won the largest share of seats in the CA and in 2014 formed a coalition government with the second-place Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) with NC President Sushil KOIRALA serving as prime minister. Nepal’s new constitution came into effect in 2015, at which point the CA became the Parliament. Khagda Prasad Sharma OLI served as the first post-constitution prime minister from 2015 to 2016. OLI resigned ahead of a no-confidence motion against him, and Parliament elected Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) leader Pushpa Kamal DAHAL (aka “Prachanda”) prime minister. The constitution provided for a transitional period during which three sets of elections local, provincial, and national needed to take place. The first local elections in 20 years occurred in three phases between May and September 2017, and state and federal elections proceeded in two phases in November and December 2017. The parties headed by OLI and DAHAL ran in coalition and swept the parliamentary elections, and OLI, who led the larger of the two parties, was sworn in as prime minister in February 2018. In May 2018, OLI and DAHAL announced the merger of their parties – the UML and CPN-M – to establish the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), which is now the ruling party in Parliament.

Geography :: Nepal


Southern Asia, between China and India

Geographic coordinates

28 00 N, 84 00 E

Map references



total: 147,181 sq km

land: 143,351 sq km

water: 3,830 sq km

Area – comparative

Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 3,159 km

border countries (2): China 1389 km, India 1770 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south


Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south; central hill region with rugged Himalayas in north


mean elevation: 2,565 m

lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m

highest point: Mount Everest (highest peak in Asia and highest point on earth above sea level) 8,848 m

Natural resources

quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore

Land use

agricultural land: 28.8% (2011 est.)

arable land: 15.1% (2011 est.) /** permanent crops:** 1.2% (2011 est.) /** permanent pasture:** 12.5% (2011 est.)

forest: 25.4% (2011 est.)

other: 45.8% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

13,320 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

most of the population is divided nearly equally between a concentration in the southern-most plains of the Tarai region and the central hilly region; overall density is quite low

Natural hazards

severe thunderstorms; flooding; landslides; drought and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons

Environment – current issues

deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); forest degradation; soil erosion; contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); unmanaged solid-waste; wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions

Environment – international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography – note

landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world’s 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga – the world’s tallest and third tallest mountains – on the borders with China and India respectively

People and Society :: Nepal


30,327,877 (July 2020 est.)


noun: Nepali (singular and plural)

adjective: Nepali

Ethnic groups

Chhettri 16.6%, Brahman-Hill 12.2%, Magar 7.1%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.8%, Newar 5%, Kami 4.8%, Muslim 4.4%, Yadav 4%, Rai 2.3%, Gurung 2%, Damai/Dholii 1.8%, Thakuri 1.6%, Limbu 1.5%, Sarki 1.4%, Teli 1.4%, Chamar/Harijan/Ram 1.3%, Koiri/Kushwaha 1.2%, other 19% (2011 est.)

note: 125 caste/ethnic groups were reported in the 2011 national census


Nepali (official) 44.6%, Maithali 11.7%, Bhojpuri 6%, Tharu 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.2%, Bajjika 3%, Magar 3%, Doteli 3%, Urdu 2.6%, Avadhi 1.9%, Limbu 1.3%, Gurung 1.2%, Baitadeli 1%, other 6.4%, unspecified 0.2% (2011 est.)

note: 123 languages reported as mother tongue in 2011 national census; many in government and business also speak English


Hindu 81.3%, Buddhist 9%, Muslim 4.4%, Kirant 3.1%, Christian 1.4%, other 0.5%, unspecified 0.2% (2011 est.)

Age structure

population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53

youth dependency ratio: 44.1

elderly dependency ratio: 8.9

potential support ratio: 11.2 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 25.3 years

male: 23.9 years

female: 26.9 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.98% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

18.1 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

5.7 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

-3.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

most of the population is divided nearly equally between a concentration in the southern-most plains of the Tarai region and the central hilly region; overall density is quite low


urban population: 20.6% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 3.15% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas – population

1.424 million KATHMANDU (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.98 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth

20.8 years (2016 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

186 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 25.1 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 26.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 23.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 71.8 years

male: 71.1 years

female: 72.6 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.96 children born/woman (2020 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

52.6% (2016/17)

Drinking water source

improved:** urban:** 91.7% of population

rural: 91.4% of population

total: 91.5% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 8.3% of population

rural: 8.6% of population

total: 8.5% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

5.6% (2017)

Physicians density

0.91 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

0.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Sanitation facility access

improved:** urban:** 91.7% of population

rural: 71.9% of population

total: 75.7% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 7.3% of population

rural: 28.1% of population

total: 24.3% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate

0.1% (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS

30,000 (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths

900 (2018 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: Japanese encephalitis, malaria, and dengue fever

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

4.1% (2016)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

27.2% (2016)

Education expenditures

5.2% of GDP (2018)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 67.9%

male: 78.6%

female: 59.7% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years

male: 12 years

female: 13 years (2017)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 21.4%

male: 19.7%

female: 23.9% (2017 est.)

Government :: Nepal

Country name

conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

conventional short form: Nepal

local long form: Sanghiya Loktantrik Ganatantra Nepal

local short form: Nepal

etymology: the Newar people of the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding areas apparently gave their name to the country; the terms “Nepal,” “Newar,” “Nepar,” and “Newal” are phonetically different forms of the same word

Government type

federal parliamentary republic


name: Kathmandu

geographic coordinates: 27 43 N, 85 19 E

time difference: UTC+5.75 (10.75 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: name derives from the Kasthamandap temple that stood in Durbar Square; in Sanskrit, “kastha” means “wood” and “mandapa” means “pavilion”; the three-story structure was made entirely of wood, without iron nails or supports, and dated to the late 16th century; it collapsed during a 2015 earthquake

Administrative divisions

7 provinces; Gandaki Pradesh, Karnali Pradesh, Province No. One, Province No. Two, Province No. Three, Province No. Five, Sudurpashchim Pradesh


1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)

National holiday

Constitution Day, 20 September (2015); note – marks the promulgation of Nepals constitution in 2015 and replaces the previous 28 May Republic Day as the official national day in Nepal; the Gregorian day fluctuates based on Nepals Hindu calendar


history: several previous; latest approved by the Second Constituent Assembly 16 September 2015, signed by the president and effective 20 September 2015

amendments: proposed as a bill by either house of the Federal Parliament; bills affecting a state border or powers delegated to a state must be submitted to the affected state assembly; passage of such bills requires a majority vote of that state assembly membership; bills not requiring state assembly consent require at least two-thirds majority vote by the membership of both houses of the Federal Parliament; parts of the constitution on the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty vested in the people cannot be amended; last amended 2016

Legal system

English common law and Hindu legal concepts; note – new criminal and civil codes came into effect on 17 August 2018

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 15 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Bidhya Devi BHANDARI (since October 2015)

head of government: Prime Minister Khadga Prasad (KP) Sharma OLI (since 15 February 2018); deputy prime ministers Ishwar POKHREL, Upendra YADAV (since 1 June 2018) (an)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister; cabinet dominated by the Nepal Communist Party

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by an electoral college of the Federal Parliament and of the state assemblies for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 13 March 2018 (next to be held in 2023); prime minister indirectly elected by the Federal Parliament
election results: Bidhya Devi BHANDARI reelected president; electoral vote – Bidhya Devi BHANDARI (CPN-UML) 39,275, Kumari Laxmi RAI (NC) 11,730

head of state: President Bidhya Devi BHANDARI (since 29 October 2015); Vice President Nanda Bahadar PUN (since 31 October 2015)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Federal Parliament consists of:

National Assembly (59 seats; 56 members, including at least 3 women, 1 Dalit, 1 member with disabilities, or 1 minority indirectly elected by an electoral college of state and municipal government leaders, and 3 members, including 1 woman, nominated by the president of Nepal on the recommendation of the government; members serve 6-year terms with renewal of one-third of the membership every 2 years)
House of Representatives (275 seats; 165 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 110 members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by party-list proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
first election for the National Assembly held on 7 February 2018 (next to be held in 2024)
first election for House of Representatives held on 26 November and 7 December 2017 (next to be held in 2022)
election results:
National Assembly – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – NCP 42, NC 13, FSFN 2, RJPN 2; composition – men 37, women 22, percent of women 37.3%
House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – NCP 174, NC 63, RJPN 17, FSFN 16, other 4, independent 1; composition – men 185, women 90, percent of women 32.7%; note – total Federal Parliament percent of women 33.5%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and up to 20 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Council, a 5-member, high-level advisory body headed by the prime minister; other judges appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the Judicial Council, a 5-member advisory body headed by the chief justice; the chief justice serves a 6-year term; judges serve until age 65

subordinate courts: High Court; district courts

Political parties and leaders

the Election Commission of Nepal granted ballot access under the proportional system to 88 political parties for the November-December 2017 House of Representatives election to the Federal Parliament; of these, the following 8 parties won seats:
Federal Socialist Forum, Nepal or FSFN [Upendra YADAV]
Naya Shakti Party, Nepal [Baburam BHATTARAI]
Nepal Communist Party or NCP [Khadga Prasad OLI, Pushpa Kamal DAHAL]
Nepali Congress or NC [Sher Bahadur DEUBA]
Nepal Mazdoor Kisan Party [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]
Rastriya Janamorcha [Chitra Bahadur K.C.]
Rastriya Janata Party or RJPN [Mahanta THAKUR]
Rastriya Prajatantra party or RPP [Kamal THAPA]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

Ambassador Arjun Kumar KARKI (since 18 May 2015)
chancery: 2730 34th Place NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: 1 667-4550

FAX: 1 667-5534
consulate(s) general: Chicago (IL), New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Randy BERRY (since 25 October 2018)

telephone: 977 423-4000

embassy: Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, Nepal

mailing address: US Embassy, Maharajgunj Chakrapath, Kathmandu, Nepal 44600

FAX: 977 400-7272

Flag description

crimson red with a blue border around the unique shape of two overlapping right triangles; the smaller, upper triangle bears a white stylized moon and the larger, lower triangle displays a white 12-pointed sun; the color red represents the rhododendron (Nepal’s national flower) and is a sign of victory and bravery, the blue border signifies peace and harmony; the two right triangles are a combination of two single pennons (pennants) that originally symbolized the Himalaya Mountains while their charges represented the families of the king (upper) and the prime minister, but today they are understood to denote Hinduism and Buddhism, the country’s two main religions; the moon represents the serenity of the Nepalese people and the shade and cool weather in the Himalayas, while the sun depicts the heat and higher temperatures of the lower parts of Nepal; the moon and the sun are also said to express the hope that the nation will endure as long as these heavenly bodies

note: Nepal is the only country in the world whose flag is not rectangular or square

National symbol(s)

rhododendron blossom; national color: red

National anthem


Economy :: Nepal

Economy – overview

Nepal is among the least developed countries in the world, with about one-quarter of its population living below the poverty line. Nepal is heavily dependent on remittances, which amount to as much as 30% of GDP. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for almost two-thirds of the population but accounting for less than a third of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural products, including pulses, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain.

Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower, with an estimated 42,000 MW of commercially feasible capacity. Nepal has signed trade and investment agreements with India, China, and other countries, but political uncertainty and a difficult business climate have hampered foreign investment. The United States and Nepal signed a $500 million Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact in September 2017 which will expand Nepals electricity infrastructure and help maintain transportation infrastructure.

Massive earthquakes struck Nepal in early 2015, which damaged or destroyed infrastructure and homes and set back economic development. Although political gridlock and lack of capacity have hindered post-earthquake recovery, government-led reconstruction efforts have progressively picked up speed, although many hard hit areas still have seen little assistance. Additional challenges to Nepal’s growth include its landlocked geographic location, inconsistent electricity supply, and underdeveloped transportation infrastructure.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$79.19 billion (2017 est.)
$73.39 billion (2016 est.)
$72.96 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$24.88 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

7.9% (2017 est.)
0.6% (2016 est.)
3.3% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$2,700 (2017 est.)
$2,500 (2016 est.)
$2,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving

45.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
40.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
44% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 78% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.7% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 33.8% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 8.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 9.8% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -42% (2017 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 27% (2017 est.)

industry: 13.5% (2017 est.)

services: 59.5% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products

pulses, rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat


tourism, carpets, textiles; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production

Industrial production growth rate

12.4% (2017 est.)

Labor force

16.81 million (2017 est.)

note: severe lack of skilled labor

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: 69%

industry: 12%

services: 19% (2015 est.)

Unemployment rate

3% (2017 est.)
3.2% (2016 est.)

Population below poverty line

25.2% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 29.5% (2011)


revenues: 5.925 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 5.945 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

23.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

26.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
27.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

16 July – 15 July

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

4.5% (2017 est.)
9.9% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

-$93 million (2017 est.)
$1.339 billion (2016 est.)


$818.7 million (2017 est.)
$761.6 million (2016 est.)

Exports – partners

India 53.1%, US 11.8%, Turkey 7.2% (2017)

Exports – commodities

clothing, pulses, carpets, textiles, juice, jute goods


$10 billion (2017 est.)
$8.764 billion (2016 est.)

Imports – commodities

petroleum products, machinery and equipment, gold, electrical goods, medicine

Imports – partners

India 70.2%, China 7.5% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$9.091 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$8.506 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt – external

$5.849 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.321 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Exchange rates

Nepalese rupees (NPR) per US dollar –
104 (2017 est.)
107.38 (2016 est.)
107.38 (2015 est.)
102.41 (2014 est.)
99.53 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Nepal

Electricity access

population without electricity: 3 million (2017)

electrification – total population: 90.7% (2016)
electrification – urban areas: 94.5% (2016)
electrification – rural areas: 85.2% (2016)

Electricity – production

4.244 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

4.983 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

2.69 million kWh (FY 2017 est.)

Electricity – imports

2.175 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

943,100 kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

5% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

92% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

3% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

27,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

26,120 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas – production

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

8.396 million Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Nepal

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 799,368

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2018 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 39,178,451

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 132 (2018 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: mountainous topography hinders development of telecom infrastructure; mobile service has been extended to all 75 districts covering 90% of Nepals land area; fixed broadband is low due to limited number of fixed lines and preeminence of the mobile platform, with overall penetration 2.8%; 3G and 4G subscribers, early stages for mobile broadband market; first launch of a Nepalese satellite (2020)

domestic: 3G coverage is available in 20 major cities (2019); disparity between high coverage in cities and coverage available in underdeveloped rural regions; fixed-line 3 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular 132 per 100 persons; fair radiotelephone communication service; 20% of the market share is fixed (wired) broadband, 2% is fixed (wireless) broadband, and 78% is mobile broadband (2019)

international: country code – 977; Nepal, China and Tibet connected across borders with underground and all-dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) fiber-optic cables; radiotelephone communications; microwave and fiber landlines to India; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

state operates 3 TV stations, as well as national and regional radio stations; 117 television channels are licensed, among those 71 are cable television channels, three are distributed through Direct-To-Home (DTH) system, and four are digital terrestrial; 736 FM radio stations are licensed and at least 314 of those radio stations are community radio stations (2019)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 10,103,980

percent of population: 34% (July 2018 est.)

Broadband – fixed subscriptions

total: 791,961

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2018 est.)

Military and Security :: Nepal

Military and security forces

Nepal Army (includes Air Wing); Nepal Armed Police Force (under the Ministry of Home Affairs; paramilitary force responsible for border and internal security, including counter-insurgency, and assisting the Army in the event of an external invasion) (2019)

Military expenditures

1.6% of GDP (2019)
1.6% of GDP (2018)
1.7% of GDP (2017)
1.7% of GDP (2016)
1.6% of GDP (2015)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Nepal Army has approximately 95,000 active troops (including a small air wing of about 500 personnel); approximately 15,000 Nepal Armed Police (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Army’s inventory includes a mix of older equipment largely of British, Chinese, Indian, Russian, and South African origin; since 2010, China, Italy, and Russia are the top suppliers of military hardware to Nepal (2019 est.)

Military deployments

720 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 880 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); 350 Golan Heights (UNDOF); 860 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 230 Liberia (UNSMIL); 140 Mali (MINUSMA); 1,700 South Sudan (UNMISS) (April 2020)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2019)

Transportation :: Nepal

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 4 (2015)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 15 (2015)

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 510,341 (2015)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 4,536,371 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

9N (2016)


47 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 11 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2017)

under 914 m: 1 (2017)

Airports – with unpaved runways

total: 36 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2013)

under 914 m: 29 (2013)


total: 59 km (2018)

narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2018)


total: 27,990 km (2016)

paved: 11,890 km (2016)

unpaved: 16,100 km (2016)

Terrorism :: Nepal

Terrorist groups – foreign based

Indian Mujahedeen (IM): aim(s): enhance networks in Nepal to carry out attacks against Indians in Nepal and India area(s) of operation: maintains active hubs of small, loosely connected networks (2018)

Transnational Issues :: Nepal

Disputes – international

joint border commission continues to work on contested sections of boundary with India, including the 400 sq km dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of illegal cross-border activities

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 13,509 (Tibet/China), 6,626 (Bhutan) (2018)

stateless persons: undetermined (2016); note – the UNHCR is working with the Nepali Government to address the large number of individuals lacking citizenship certificates in Nepal; smaller numbers of Bhutanese Hindu refugees of Nepali origin (the Lhotshampa) who were stripped of Bhutanese nationality and forced to flee their country in the late 1980s and early 1990s – and undocumented Tibetan refugees who arrived in Nepal prior to the 1990s – are considered stateless

Illicit drugs

illicit producer of cannabis and hashish for the domestic and international drug markets; transit point for opiates from Southeast Asia to the West


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