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HomeEnglishFact Check: Preparations Underway To Deploy US Army In Nepal? Viral Video...

Fact Check: Preparations Underway To Deploy US Army In Nepal? Viral Video Is Edited

Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Claim
Preparations underway to deploy the United States Army in Nepal
Fact
Viral video is made up by editing unrelated images and footage to create false narrative

A video claiming that preparations are being made to deploy the United States (US) soldiers in Nepal in the name of Millennium Challenge Corporation is being shared on TikTok. The video surfaces at a time when the remarks made by economist and Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) lawmaker Swarnim Wagle and CPN-UML lawmaker Bimala Rai Poudel that the size of Nepal Army should be reduced have stoked a fresh debate in Nepali social media.

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @govindakafle92 posted a video showing visuals of military personnel taking part in a parade, and Nepali politicians speaking. Text superimposed on the video reads, “See the government has decided to deploy the US soldiers, it feels like a disrespect of Nepali soldiers. What’s your take on this? Please share it among Nepali brothers and sisters.”

Audio accompanying the video presented in a news reporting style says, “Preparations are underway to bring American soldiers to Nepal. The government showed indications of withdrawing the decision after widespread protest. In recent times, a debate regarding Nepal Army is raging in Nepal media.” The narrator goes on to say, “Opinions are being expressed that Nepal doesn’t need 90,000-member army and the size of Nepal Army could be reduced to 50,000. Rastriya Swatantra Party lawmaker Swarnim Wagle and CPN-UML lawmaker Bimala Poudel Rai are among those stressing on the need to downsize Nepal Army at least to minimise expenses.”

The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

The video posted on 14 August has garnered 566 likes, 35 users have shared it and 24 people have commented on it.

Newschecker found the claims to be misleading.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker listened to the audio which gave us a clue that the news clip is taken from a YouTube channel named GS online.

Taking the clue, we searched the online channel and found a video, dated 17 July 2023, whose frame and the audio exactly matched the viral video.

Then, we closely observed the viral clip and found that it contained one image and eight different footages. So, Newschecker split the video into several keyframes and conducted reverse searches on them. A reverse search on the first image led to UK Army website carrying an image closely matching the image used in the video. We found that the image showed the team of visiting UK Army Chief of the General Staff (CGS) General Sir Mark attending the army day function at Tundihkel, Kathmandu on 21 February, 2020.

Then, we conduct reverse searches on the second footage showing Nepal army performing a military drill to no avail.

So conducted a reverse search on a frame from the third footage showing an apparent US Air Force soldier performing an air drill. The search led us to a video of an aircraft adventure, whose frame at 0.33-minute timestamp exactly matched the viral video. The viral video, dated 4 April, 2023, was published on a YouTube channel named Dozen Duzit. The channel description mentioned that it is all about adventure shows focused on aviation.

Further, we found other three footage showing Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Rastriya Swatantra Party lawmaker Swarnim Wagle and CPN-UML lawmaker Bimala Rai Poudel speaking in the parliament.

We found the video is made by using unrelated and speculative issues by taking cue from the present political issue. We also checked other videos posted on the channel and found that the channel regularly posts many sensational and unverified contents to increase TRP. Then, we checked for the truth regarding the alleged preparation to deploy the US Army personnel in Nepal in the name of MCC.

What is MCC?

The Millennium Challenge Corporation is a $500million US grant to upgrade Nepal’s electricity transmission grid and road networks. Prior to the parliamentary ratification of the US programme back in February 2023, the issue had courted controversy. The debate over whether or not to accept the US aid had sharply divided the general public and political leaders alike with its detractors arguing that the MCC is against Nepal’s national interests and part of the US’s Indo-pacific strategy.

We found several news articles and a statement from the US embassy in Nepal confirming that the MCC-Nepal Compact is a non-military agreement and it doesn’t have any military components and the funding cannot be used for military assistance or training. Many sceptics of the MCC-Nepal compact had been speculating that the US could use the aid as a ploy to bring its army in Nepal to keep China in check.

But we couldn’t find any reports to verify the claim that the government is making preparations to deploy the US soldiers in Nepal. Thus, our findings clearly showed that the viral video created a false narrative that the recent proposal made by lawmakers Wagle and Rai on downsizing the Nepal Army was part of a larger conspiracy to bring the US soldiers to Nepal.

Conclusion

The viral video claiming that preparations are underway to bring the US Army to Nepal is misleading.

Result: Edited Video

Sources
UK Army Website 21 February, 2020
GS Online TV/YouTube 17 July, 2023
Dozen Duzit/YouTube 4 April, 2023
Patrika/YouTube 17 July, 2023
US Embassy Nepal


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Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

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