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Fact Check: Video Showing Army Chief General Sharma Clarifying On US SPP Falsely Linked With Greater Nepal Issue

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
Nepal Army General Prabhu Ram Sharma issued a strong directive in connection with the issue of Greater Nepal.
Fact
Viral clip actually shows General Sharma clarifying on the issue of the US State Partnership Programme.

A two-minute-52-second video purportedly showing Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Prabhu Ram Sharma issuing a strong directive to Nepal Army personnel in connection with the issue of Greater Nepal is going viral on TikTok.

TikTok user @yagyastha55_official posted a video showing a clip of Nepal Army Chief Prabhu Ram Sharma speaking at a programme. Text superimposed on the video reads, “At a time when the issue of Greater Nepal is being raised from several quarters, the Army Chief shouted loudly. He issued such a directive to the army, people’s wish.”

In the clip, General Sharma says, “Geopolitical situation and our geographical location. We cannot go against the will of our people and two friendly neighbours.” The clip follows a narration which reports that “Saying that Nepal Army is the monument of the faith of Nepali people, Army Chief General Prabhu Ram Sharma has directed the Nepal Army to live up to their responsibilities in a personal and collective manner. According to the Nepal Army Directorate of Public Relations, the CoAS said that the overall situation of the country and the possible challenges have been helpful in formulating the policies and strategies. He also directed the Nepal Army to remain alert about the orchestrated motive of some vested interest groups to disturb the peace and stability in the country.”

The video posted on September 22 has garnered 2273 likes, 51 users have shared it and 63 people have commented until the time of publishing this article.The archived version of the article can be seen here.

Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker closely observed the video and noticed a small logo of Color Of Nepal on the bottom-right corner. Taking a clue from it, we conducted a search on YouTube Channel and found a channel named Color Of Nepal. On scanning the videos posted recently on the channel, we found a video, dated September 22 2023, whose frames and audio exactly resembled the viral video. The video was titled Army Chief issued a directive at a time when the issue of Greater Nepal is being raised from several quarters.  The later portion of the video not included in the viral video reported that the Chief of Army Staff is set to fly to India’s Capital New Delhi to attend the 13th Indo-Pacific Chief Conference. 

We, then, split the video into several keyframes and conducted reverse searches on them. The search led us to a video, dated 17 June 2022, published on the YouTube Channel of Nepal’s popular online media setopati.com. On checking the video, we found that the footage showed CoAS Sharma clarifying to the media about the United State Government’s State Partnership Programme.  

Further, we looked up articles regarding General Sharma’s clarification on the SPP. On checking an article, dated June 17, 2023, published on Kathmandu Post online, we found that General Sharma was speaking at a meeting of the International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives. The House committee had quizzed then Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka and Army Chief Sharma when the issue of US State Partnership Programme ran into controversy after a leaked letter showed Nepal Army applied for its participation in the US’s SPP in 2015.

We also conducted a reverse search on a keyframe from the viral video showing CoAS Sharma walking on the red carpet. The search led us to an article, dated 18 June 2022, published on the Annapurna Post online. The frames of the image carried in the article exactly matched the viral video. The image showed General Sharma on the red carpet before his departure to visit to Lebanon to boost the morale of Nepali soldiers working as peacekeepers.

What is Greater Nepal?
Greater Nepal is an irredentist concept, with its proponents claiming that some of the present-day territories of India, controlled by the Gorkha Army between 1791 AD and 1804 AD, should be returned back to Nepal. The Gorkhas later ceded the territories to the British East India Company under the 1816 Sugauli Treaty as part of a war settlement.

The cause of Greater Nepal is being raised by Unified Nepal National Front, a lesser-known political group led by Phanindra Nepal, but has not found traction while the big political parties of Nepal have not adopted the issue in their agenda, probably because of its implausibility.

Thus, our findings clearly show that the clip shows the 2022 video of Army Chief Sharma speaking at the House committee regarding the issue of the US State Partnership Programme.  

Conclusion

The viral video claiming to show Nepal Army Chief General Prabhu Ram Sharma speaking angrily in the wake of growing calls for Greater Nepal is misleading. The clip actually shows General Sharam clarifying the House committee on the issue of the US State Partnership Programme.

Result: False

Sources
Color of Nepal/YouTube, Sept 22, 2023
Setopati /YouTube, June 17, 2022
Kathmandu Post, June 17, 2022
Annapurna Post, June 18, 2022


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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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