Nepal Army was under critical ammunition shortage, Maoist did not know

Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty, Reasons, 1.4 (b/d). 
One Bullet Per M-16 
1. (S) Royal Nepal Army (RNA) Master General of Ordnance 
Major General Prakash Bahadur Basnyat told Emboff on February 
28 that the RNA was running critically low on almost all 
types of ammunition.  The RNA had 16,800 rounds of M-16 
ammunition remaining in the depots for its 16,000 M-16s.  In 
other words, the army is down to one round per U.S.-provided 
rifle.  With only 130,000 rounds of INSAS ammunition in 
central stock and 25,000 INSAS weapons, the RNA had an 
average of 5.2 rounds per INSAS.  After China had provided 
7.62mm ammunition for self-loading rifles (SLRs), the RNA had 
only an average of 21 rounds per weapon, although the MGO 
noted that the SLRs were 35 years old and perhaps as many as 
half of the 32,000 weapons were inoperable.  MG Basnyat added 
that the RNA had no other ammunition deliveries scheduled. 
Other Ordnance Also In Short Supply 
2. (S) The RNA is also dangerously low on munitions for close 
air support during missions when it wants to use its 
helicopters in battle.  According to Basnyat, the RNA had 
less than 23 70mm rockets and only nine high explosive 51mm 
rockets.  In terms of heavier ground weapons designed to 
support infantry troops in combat, the RNA was also running 
low on mortar rounds (only 317 rounds of 81mm mortars) and 
M203 grenade rounds.  The RNA has 2,300 hand grenades 
remaining.  The MGO commented that these numbers left nothing 
for training. 
3. (S) These numbers and the lack of scheduled deliveries are 
alarming and we hope that the Maoists do not discover how low 
the RNA's stocks are.  Unless something positive unexpectedly 
happens, pretty soon the M-16's we have provided to the RNA 
will be rendered useless.  Shortly thereafter, the 
Indian-supplied INSAS will suffer a similar fate.  MG Basnyat 
told us this information informally and we do not believe 
COAS authorized the MGO to share this information.  We also 
do not believe that the Indians are aware of this lack of 


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