Nepal may bar Gorkhas from Indian Army

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by Daredevil, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Is this the End of Gorkha Soldiers in Indian Army?

    Gorkha soldiers and Nepal’s changed context

    Nepal has not been involved in a war with any country since the one with East India Company and British forces in 1814-16. But for close to two centuries, brave Gorkha soldiers (or Gurkhas as they are known in the British Army) from Nepal have fought numerous wars for others.

    But the era of these brave men laying down lives for causes not associated with their motherland could soon come to an end.
    As a new Nepal tries to emerge from the rubble of a civil war and demise of the 240-year-old monarchy, Gorkhas serving the British and Indian armies could become a thing of the past.

    The Committee for International Relations and Human Rights of Nepal’s parliament recently endorsed a policy paper (‘Nepal’s Foreign Policy in Changed Context’) which besides offering suggestions on foreign policy also seeks an end to soldiers fighting wars under foreign flags.

    “Gurkha recruitment gave the youth a small opportunity for employment, but serving foreign military powers has not always allowed the country to hold its head high…Since, ultimately, Gurkha recruitment will have to end, it is necessary to create alternatives,” the paper recommended.

    If such a ban on recruitment is indeed put in place, it will end a unique chapter in military history where citizens of one country served in armies of others and fought against enemies with whom they had no enmity.

    Recruitment of Gorkhas, first into East India Company and later into British Army, began during the 1814-16 war when impressed with their bravery the East India Company started enlisting them. The first Gorkha regiment, Nausiri Battalion, was formed in 1815.

    Gorkhas proved their tenacity in many wars and later became part of British Indian Army when it was formed after the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. They served the British during the First and Second World Wars with distinction in many countries and the legend of the Gorkha as the ‘bravest soldier’ and his ‘khukri’ took firm shape.

    After India’s independence, both Britain and India decided on retaining services of Gorkha regiments in their armies as per the Tripartite Agreement signed with Nepal. In the past 200 years, Gorkhas have earned battle laurels in over 20 countries for Britain and India during wars and peace-keeping efforts.

    At present there are 39 battalions in seven Gorkha regiments of Indian Army. Nearly 30,000 Gorkhas including 120 officers are serving in these regiments. Every year thousands more join these brave men through recruitment drives conducted in Nepal.

    Besides those serving, Nepal has 79,000 Indian Army pensioners, 11,000 widows of ex-servicemen and 17,000 retired Assam Rifles personnel. Indian Army pays them over Rs 1,200 crores annually in pension and provides other benefits to their families as well.

    Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas comprise of 3640 men recruited from Nepal. Such is the level of trust enjoyed by them that they were recently entrusted the task of protecting Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, when he was secretly posted in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

    All that tradition could soon fade away as Nepal mulls changes in foreign policy with the intention of holding its head high among as an independent, sovereign republic.

    “The elimination of Gurkha recruitment, indeed, is a test of whether the new republic can settle the debate over her semi-colonial status and become a proud member of fully sovereign community of nations,” writes columnist Gyanu Adhikari in The Kathmandu Post.
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is just another political shenanigan of the Maoists of Nepal

    Imagine what will happen if Nepalis are not recruited in either the Indian or the British Army.

    Can impoverished Nepal that bases its economy on tourism keep their country afloat if they freeze the employment?

    If India closes the border, where will the Nepalis who work in India in profession other than the military go?

    All populist talk!

    It can, however, cause problems for India since the Nepalis already working in India may not return and instead vanish and mingle in the Indian Nepali population in HP, West Bengal and Assam.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
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  4. ace009

    ace009 Freakin' Fighter fan Elite Member

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    Why can't India raise it's own Gurkha regiment from Nepali descendants and immigrants who live in India? Also, India can pretty much ask the Gurkha regiment personnel to immigrate to India with their families if the IA really wants to retain them.

    AFAIK there was talk of Royal Army ending the "Gurkha regiments" sometime in the near future.
     
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  5. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    sir, They will surely go to china!!!!
     
  6. noob101

    noob101 Regular Member

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    There must be china's hand in this
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    There is considerable influence of China in Nepal.

    However, China will not encourage them to come to China for any job. As it is, they are having problems with the non Hans of China. More so, when they know that the Nepalis are hot tempered and are quick on the draw!

    China will also not take them in their Army. As it is, China has a surplus of manpower and the Nepalis may not agree to be ideologically indoctrinated!
     
  8. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Ray sir, is right. Its is just a political stunt.
    Untill and unless Nepal's economy does not provide alternatives to its locals, the Indian para-military and armed forces remain an important source of employment to the Nepalese people.

    Apart from the armed forces there are thousands of Nepalese nationals working in private/govt security agencies too.

    Once their economy gives them alternatives, the natives will stop coming for jobs here.

    The Gurkha units will not end.
     
  9. Arunpillai

    Arunpillai Regular Member

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    Gurkha's reputations for bravery and fearlessness are legendary.. But that doesn't mean rest of our regiments are not good enough..
     
  10. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    I agree with ray sir here, political stunt, nothing more nothing less. But in case if it eventually happens, that no one from Nepal is coming to join Indian army, then also we can recruit from our native population.
     
  11. JAISWAL

    JAISWAL Senior Member Senior Member

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    i think nepal is not the only source of Gurkhas in Indian army, North-Eastern states also contribute a good no. of soilders in Indian Gurkha force.
     
  12. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Political charades aside, I think the mood is serious in Nepal about doing away with mercenary soldiers. I don't personally see a Chinese hand, since they would be doing away with one potential source of infiltration into the Indian Army. The number of Officer level cadre from Gorkha troops has increased phenomenally in recent years. It'll take some time, but I think that eventually, it'll happen. The key is to be prepared for it, and anticipate it when it happens.

    Chinese investment will provide the alternative source of employment these youth seek.

    That aside, India has Gorkha areas of it's own. We're talking of about 2.8% of active duty combat troops. And Sikkim, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and other areas of NW Bengal can provide a useful source of supplementation for any loss in source of troops. Building a proper Army rapport in these areas, for the future is crucial. For there is no better, more loyal soldier than the Gurkha.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  13. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    NEW DELHI: The blood-curdling "Ayo Gorkhali" battle-cry, backed by the wickedly-curved khukris, may soon lose its long-standing welcome resonance in the Indian Army, with the Nepalese government again moving towards banning the recruitment of Gorkhas in foreign armies.

    The Indian defence establishment is watching with concern the Baburam Bhattarai government's fresh move to eventually halt the recruitment of Gorkhas in Indian, British and other armies in line with the recommendations of its parliament's report "Nepal's Foreign policy in the Changed Context, 2012".

    "As per our information, it's a proposal being studied in Nepal as of now...no final decision has yet been taken. We are tracking it closely," said a senior defence ministry official on Monday.

    Over 25,000 Nepalese currently serve in the Indian Army's seven Gorkha Rifles (Ist, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th and 11th), each of which has five to six battalions (800 to 1,000 soldiers each), drawing basically from Rais and Limbus of eastern Nepal and Gurungs and Magars from the west.

    They make up almost 70% of the Gorkha Regiment, while "Indian domicile Gorkhas" from places like Dehradun, Darjeeling and Dharamshala constitute the rest. "Rais and Limbus in 11 GR, for instance, come both from eastern Nepal as well as Darjeeling," said an officer.

    There are roughly another 20,000 Gorkhas in Indian paramilitary and police forces like Assam Rifles. "Moreover, India has over 80,000 ex-servicemen, 17,000 retired Assam Rifles personnel and 11,000 widows to look after in Nepal. The serving and retired together draw around Rs 1,200 crore annually as salaries and pension from India," he said.

    Defence minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha on Monday that India was going to extend the benefits of its ECHS (ex-servicemen contributory health scheme) to retired personnel in Nepal through three polyclinics at Kathmandu, Pokhara and Dharan, which will also have mobile clinics.

    The number of serving Nepalese Gorkhas is quite small to operationally matter for the 1.13-million Indian Army, which is much more worried about China's deft strategic inroads into Nepal at the moment.

    But the force remains very devoted to continuing its two-century-old "glorious tradition" of recruiting the intrepid and doughty Gorkha soldiers, with Maharaja Ranjit Singh being among the first to tap their never-say-die fighting spirit in the early 19th Century.

    British Indian Army's Gorkha regiments won a dozen Victoria Crosses and other top laurels in World War I and II, before they were divided between the British and Indian armies in 1947.

    Since then, the Indian Gorkha Rifles in India have also proved their mettle in all conflicts and counter-insurgency operations, ranging from the Hyderabad police action in 1948 to the 1999 Kargil conflict, winning the highest gallantry awards like the Param Vir Chakra, Ashok Chakra and Mahavir Chakra.

    "Indian Army shares a unique and special bond with the Gorkhas and their credo `Kafir hunu banda marnu jati' (better to die than be a coward)...They are superb, unflinching soldiers. We obviously would like to continue with the tradition," said a senior officer.

    The Gorkha Brigade, which celebrated its diamond jubilee in February, after being constituted in 1952 by Major-General D K Palit to foster esprit-de-corps, has produced several top Indian Army commanders, including chiefs like Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and General Gopal Bewoor.

    The present Army vice-chief Lt-General S K Singh is the current Gorkha Brigade president as an officer from the 8th Gorkha Rifles.

    http://m.timesofindia.com/PDATOI/articleshow/12334603.cms
     
  14. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    I am sure we need no guesses as to who's really behind this..
     
  15. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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  16. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    From the standpoint of traditions, it will be a loss. Not manpower wise.

    It will also be a dampener to the good relations with Nepal.

    The next step will be stop all employment in India, of Nepalese citizens.

    The divide will be complete and Nepal will become another alien nation!
     
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  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    A convenient J'Accuse when in actuality the recruiting of Gorkhas was beneficial for the impoverished people living in abject poverty. It is not that the Gurkhas alone died in the World Wars, Indians died too! The interesting part missed out by the author is that it was a VOLUNTEER Army and no one forced the Gurkhas to join! The lament that Gurkhas had 'sacrificed' is totally bogus! They were mercenaries in the true sense, but none like to use that word since they are comrade in arms and have given their bit unstintingly and without reservations to the Armies they have served with. They have always been taken as one's own - such is camaraderie that is powered by hardship and threat of the battlefield.

    The litmus test that the J'Accuse is skewed is the fact that the soldiers who are in the British Gurkha are demanding that they be given British citizenship. If indeed, it was that bad that the Nepalese were being exploited, then how come the Nepali soldiers want to become British citizens instead of proudly claiming that they are Napali?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  19. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Honestly, I think it is up to the government of Nepal to decide whether they will allow their citizens to be mercenaries for other countries. I don't think there is anything wrong from Nepal's point of view.

    India could, however, put pressure on Nepal, and stop employment of Nepalis in India, and deny them land and port access. If India really is short of manpower, Nepal can always be arm-twisted.

    Said that, let us not over-hype the Gurkha Regiment. We have seen how well the Naga Regiment performed while capturing Tiger Hill. With training, anything is possible. (18 Grenadiers, 2 Naga, and 8 Sikh Regiment were involved)

    True, mountain people have some advantages than plain people in fighting in the mountains. I am pretty sure the Dogras, Kashmiris, Lepchas, Nagas, Manipuris, Tibetans are more than capable of equaling the Gurkhas when it comes to mountain warfare.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2012
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  20. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    May I ask why post #7 by pmaitra was edited by Ray? Is that correct information?
     
  21. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    Maos & CCP is playing well!!
     

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