Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Purnachandra Thapa has asserted that the Nepal Army (NA) was the beacon of hope for the citizens and an embodiment of national unity. Inaugurating a summit organized by NA for its former servicemen at Ramnagar Barracks in Butwal today, CoAS Thapa said that NA was constitutionally enshrined with the responsibility to keep the national unity intact. “The issues relating to national unity and identity seem to be in shadow in the latest scenario, which tend to stave off national security, development and prosperity for the country. We Nepalis must be aware of it,” viewed the CoAS. According to him, the NA has emphasized increasing ex-army personnel’s access to education and health to ensure them their social recognition and economic development. Also speaking at the event, Lieutenant General Gaurav Tandul expressed his confidence that the summit would further bring closer the serving army personnel and former ones. On the occasion, retired Major General Padam Bilas Karki, who is currently serving as the CEO of the Army Welfare Fund, shed light on the undertakings of the Fund. CoAS Thapa distributed wheelchair and crutches to the former army personnel injuried during the armed conflict and various natural disasters. Those willing to obtain micro loan from the Fund were also provided with the cheques. The NA, that traces its root to the reign of Prithvi Narayan Shah in the 18th century as the ‘Gurkhali Fauj’ currently has over 85,000 retired servicemen while 800,000 beneficiaries of the Welfare Fund.