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Gorkha recruitment for Indian Army on pause, but matter not closed: Nepal

Talking to reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of South Asia here, Sharma also said presently no "serious discussion" is taking place on the issue between the two governments

Soldiers of the 99th Mountain Brigade's 2nd Battalion, 5 Gorkha Rifles, during Yudh Abhyas 2013.  Image source: Wikipedia

Soldiers of the 99th Mountain Brigade's 2nd Battalion, 5 Gorkha Rifles, during Yudh Abhyas 2013. Image source: Wikipedia

Press Trust of India New Delhi

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The recruitment of Gorkhas from Nepal to the Indian Army under the Agnipath scheme has been put on "pause", but the matter has not been closed, Nepal's Ambassador to India Shankar Prasad Sharma said on Monday.
Talking to reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of South Asia here, Sharma also said presently no "serious discussion" is taking place on the issue between the two governments.
"I don't think this is a closed subject. India has developed some kind of mechanism in Agnipath, and would like to use the same mechanism to recruit from Nepal. Nepal is saying something different. We would like to go for the older system. That is what it is," the Nepalese ambassador said.
"It has not been closed but I have not seen any serious discussion going on between the two countries. So, I would say that it is in the pause stage," he said.
He said the Nepal government has not taken a decision on the issue so far.
"There is a strong debate in Nepal if we should continue sending people to the Indian Army. These days I have not heard anything of that sort in civil society," he said.
While unveiling the Agnipath scheme in June last year, the Centre said youths between the age of 17 and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure while 25 per cent of them will be subsequently inducted for regular service.
After the introduction of the Agnipath scheme, the Nepal government stopped recruitment of Gorkhas for the Indian Army in August, 2022, saying recruitment under the scheme does not conform with provisions of the Britain-India-Nepal Tripartite Agreement.
Six Gorkha regiments became part of the Indian Army at the time of Independence in 1947 as per the terms of the tripartite agreement. A seventh Gorkha Rifles regiment was re-raised in the Indian Army after Independence. The troops are mainly from ethnic Gorkha communities of India and Nepal, and Nepalese make up about 60 per cent of India's Gorkha regiments.
Sharma also said that India-Nepal relations remain strong despite certain political issues like the border issue.
Asked about the China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Sharma said nine projects have been identified under the BRI, but none of them funded yet.
"Now, there is a controversy in Nepal that the loan that we received from China for the Pokhara airport is under BRI. The Nepal government is saying we have not taken any loan under BRI. But when China said it is a BRI project, they probably have a different kind of definition...from our perspective we have not taken any loan under BRI," the ambassador said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jul 25 2023 | 7:06 AM IST

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