‘Indian Gorkhas might fulfil the need if Nepal continues to delay Gorkha recruitment’
The 39th Gorkha battalion which was constituted in 2015 has only Indian Gorkhas
The Government of Nepal has been playing truant on the recruitment of Nepalese Gorkhas in the Indian Army lately. Nepal is very well aware of the size of Nepalese Gorkhas in the Indian Army but does India really need Nepalese Gorkhas in Indian Army? Can Indian Army sustain without the Nepalese Army?
An opinion piece written by former Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri tells a different story. According to the opinion post published in The Tribune, if it’s a numbers game then even if the Government of Nepal continues to oppose this recruitment, India can very well sustain due to the Gorkha population in India.
Puri writes that the 39th Gorkha battalion which was constituted in 2015 has only Indian Gorkhas. In fact, if the total number of Gorkhas in Indian Army is taken into account, then one-third of them are actually Indian Gorkhas.
The former Ambassador takes cues from history to explain the formation and functioning of the Gorkha regiments in the Indian Army. He writes that the recruitment of the Nepalese Gorkhas in the Indian Army is a result of atripartite agreement signed between India, Nepal and the United Kingdom in 1947. However, this recruitment might date back to the 19th century, Puri writes for The Tribune.
In his opinion piece, he highlights the cordial relationship between the Sikhs and Gorkhas. According to the article, Maharaja Ranjit Singh might have officially introduced Gorkhas in the Indian Army. Impressed by the bravery and valour of the Gorkhas during a battle which Maharaja Ranjit Singh won, he recruited them in his army to fight in Afghanistan for a Sikh Campaign in 1822. Sikhs and Gorkhas then fought many battles together including the ones fought against the British, Puri writes further.
The OpEd published in The Tribune points out that at the time of independence, there were around 10 Gorkha regiments in the Indian Army out of which three were given to the UK as per the Tripartite Agreement while seven remained with India.
Currently, there are over 32,000 Gorkhas serving in the Indian Army but if Nepal continues in its efforts to dismantle the system, Indian Gorkhas might come forward to replenish.