It has emerged that Nepali Gorkhas will be recruited under India’s controversial Agnipath scheme as the country prepares to roll it out in full force. The Indian Army accepts Nepalese soldiers as part of the 1947 Tripartite Agreement signed by Nepal, India, and the United Kingdom.
The original plan was to hire young people between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 for four years, with the option of extending their contracts for another 15 years. However, in 2022, the Centre increased the age limit for recruitment to 23 years old.
Scheme of Agnipath
Recruitment of Nepali Gorkhas would be limited to a four-year term, after which 25 percent would be kept for an extended period.
The Gorkha Recruiting Depots in Kunraghat, Gorakhpur, and Ghoom, near Darjeeling, would serve as permanent locations for the recruitment of Gorkha regiments.
How will the Nepalese Gorkhas be recruited?
At any given time, 32,000 and 35,000 Nepalese soldiers served in the Indian military. Through the Army Recruitment Office, Nepalese Gorkhas are recruited from Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, as well as Darjeeling, Assam, and Meghalaya.
The Nepalese government must first approve of any changes to recruitment procedures. Any such provision violates the Tripartite Agreement of 1947, which governs the recruitment of Nepalese youth to join the Indian Gorkha Army, according to MyRepublic.np.
Because of the Agnipath formula, Nepali citizens could not serve in Indian Gorkha regiments for the rest of their lives.
Even though Indian media reported Gorkhas would be recruited under this scheme, Nepali officials told the newspaper that “even the minimum courtesy required to inform Kathmandu authorities appears to have been observed,” even though Indian media reported this scheme. Commentator Kanak Mani Dixit predicted that Nepal’s social fabric and foreign policy would be negatively affected.
Remittances from Nepalese soldiers total Rs 1,000 crore per year, which significantly boosts the country’s economy. In his interview with the Indian Express, retired 5 Gorkha Major-General Gopal Gurung (retd) said that the Indian Army’s salaries, pensions, and other perks are a significant draw for Nepali recruits.