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China ‘keen’ to Recruit Gurkha Soldiers into PLA

  • Category
    Security
  • Published
    5th May, 2023

Context

Communist China, which has long been intrigued by the motivation behind Nepalese youth joining the Indian Army, may seek the Communist government in Nepal to allow the Gurkhas to join the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Who are Gurkhas?

Recruitment in different countries

The Gurkha units are recruited for the-

  • Nepali Army
  • Indian Army
  • British Army
  • Gurkha Contingent Singapore
  • Gurkha Reserve Unit Brunei
  • UN peacekeeping forces and in war zones around the world
  • Gurkhas are the Nepali Soldiers that form a significant part of the Indian Army’s legendary Gurkha regiment.
  • They come from four main communities of Magar, Gurung, Rai and Limbu.
  • Pre-Independence: They first encountered the British in 1814, when the British East India Company fought against them during the Anglo-Nepalese War.
  • British forces admired the Gurkhas’ military abilities and honourable tactics, and first recruited Gurkha troops in 1815 (Nasiri regiment).
    • The Nepali Gurkhas played a crucial role in the consolidation of the British Empire in India. They fought during the Gurkha-Sikh War, Anglo-Sikh wars, and the Afghan wars.
  • Post-Independence: After India gained independence, a Tripartite Agreement (Britain–India–Nepal) was signed by which the regiments were split between the Indian armies and the British.
    • Currently, Gorkha regiments make up Indian Army’s 43 Battalions with soldiers from both Nepal and India in seven Gorkha regiments – 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th and the 11th.

Khukri, the national weapon of Nepal 

  • Their signature weapon of Gurkhas, Khukri, forms part of the Gurkha regimental insignia in Britain and India as well.
  • The khukri is a traditional multipurpose knife of the Nepalese people used for regular cutting, clearing, chopping firewood, digging, slaughtering animals for food etc.

Gorkha pullout 

  • Gorkhas are some of the best fighters in the world, however, the newly introduced Agnipath Scheme threatens to break this arrangement.
  • Nepal urged India to suspend the recruitment of Gorkhas to the Indian Army under this new plan.

Agnipath is a tour of duty scheme introduced by India in June 2022 for recruitment of soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the three services of the armed forces. All recruits are to be hired for a four-year period.

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