Bar Nepalis from joining foreign armies: Left alliance

Kathmandu May 5

A work plan prepared by the left alliance task force formed by the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre has recommended barring Nepali youths from joining foreign armies.

Around 44,000 Nepali nationals are currently serving in the Indian and British armies as well as Singapore Police.

The work plan for achieving economic development and prosperity states, “Nepali citizens will be barred from joining any foreign army.” It states that Ministry of Foreign Affairs will handle the issue and adds that “previous treaties and agreements governing Nepali nationals' service in foreign armies will be scrapped through diplomatic channel.

UML Vice-chair and coordinator of the task force Bamdev Gautam submitted the report to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and CPN-MC Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

A left alliance leader said the alliance proposed banning Nepalis from joining foreign armies mainly because Nepal as a member of the non-alignment movement should not send its youths to join foreign armies.

In the past too, parliamentary panels had urged the government to bar Nepalis from joining foreign armies. Nepal's Supreme Court had passed an order eight years ago, saying recruitment of Nepali nationals in Singapore Police Force was illegal, but that order was not implemented.

There are seven Gurkha regiments, 40 battalions in the Indian Army with around 40,000 Gurkha soldiers, including in the Assam rifles. According to Indian security experts, 70 per cent of Indian Gurkhas are Nepali citizens. In 1947, when India gained independence, a tripartite agreement among Nepal, India and Britain transferred four Gurkha regiments from the British Army to the Indian Army.

There are 80,000 ex-Gurkhas, 17,000 Nepalis in Assam rifles and 11,000 widows receiving welfare fund. They receive 12 billion INR from the Indian government annually. There are around 3,600 Nepalis in British Army and around 400 Nepalis serve in Singapore Police Force. Eligible Nepalis for Singapore Police Force are selected by ex-British Gurkhas. British Army chooses 60 Nepalis every year for Singapore Police Force.

Britain has, however, reduced the number of British Gurkhas in recent years.