By Sumit Kumar Singh
China has given 12.7 lakh Nepalese rupees to a Kathmandu-based NGO to carry out a study on what motivates Gorkha community members to join the Indian Army.
Sources said that in the first week of June, China’s Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi, funded a Nepalese NGO — China Study Centre (CSC) — to conduct a study on Nepalis being recruited in the Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army.
“The CSC has been asked to conduct the study by addressing several points such as the reasons behind Nepalis joining the Indian Army, areas of Nepal from where such recruits are being made and their social-economic impact, their interest in joining the armed forces of foreign countries, among others,” a source said.
A fund of 12.7 lakh Nepalese rupees has been allocated by the Chinese Embassy for this task, said the source.
There are seven Gorkha regiments in the Indian Army comprising around 28,000 Nepali citizens. The regiments have a total 39 battalions. In total, there were 11 Gorkha Regiments, out of which four went to the British Army after Independence.
India has the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th and 11th Gorkha regiments while the British Army has the 2nd, 6th, 7th and 10th regiments.
The Gorkha community consists of mainly of four different tribes — are Khas (or Chetri), Gurung, Limbus and Rais.
The recruitment of Nepali Gorkhas into the Indian Army stems from an arrangement agreed to in 1947 between India, the UK and Nepal, known as the Tripartite Agreement.
But Nepal has now stated that this agreement is redundant. The assertion was made after Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli first raised the issue during his meeting with former UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
In the meantime, sources also said that the Communist Party of Nepal-Biplab, a banned underground insurgent outfit, has launched an extensive people’s awareness programme to stop the youth of Nepal from joining the Gorkha regiments of Indian Army.
Sources said the cultural wing of the CPN-Biplab is organising street plays, folk dances and other cultural events to spread anti-India campaigns.
The ties between India and Nepal have come under strain after Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80 km long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.
Nepal protested the inauguration of the road, claiming that it passed through its territory. Days later, Nepal came out with a new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.
Nepal’s Parliament in June approved the new political map of the country featuring areas which India maintains belong to it. India said Nepal’s action violated an understanding that the two countries can resolve the border issues through talks.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)