British MPs hail Nepal’s pledge to allow Gurkha recruitment

February 19th, 2009 - 10:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Feb 19 (IANS) A team of British lawmakers is leaving Nepal Friday with an assurance by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ that his government will not halt the recruitment of the famed Gurkha soldiers into the British Army.
“We greatly appreciated the prime minister’s statement to the delegation that the recruitment of Gurkhas into the British Army will continue,” Sir John Stanley, leader of the Inter-Parliamentary Union British Group’s delegation from the British Parliament to Nepal, said here Thursday.

The British parliamentarians met Prachanda Monday to ask him about the government’s future policy about the Gurkhas since the Maoists had pledged in their election manifesto last year that they would stop the “shameful” practice of hiring Nepalis as mercenaries in the British and Indian armies.

The British media had been speculating that Nepal could halt the recruitment of Gurkhas and ask for a review of the tripartite agreement with Britain and India after the British government’s recent decision to allow more Gurkha veterans to resettle in London.

The resettlement rush, it was speculated, could lead to a flight of capital and remittance from Nepal to Britain.

Prachanda assured the MPs that the recruitment would continue since it was another tie between the two governments.

Britain is the largest single bilateral donor of aid to Nepal through its Department for International Development (DFID).

A further significant British contribution to development in Nepal is also made by the Gurkha Welfare Scheme, which is worth 10 million pounds a year to Nepal.

The Brigade of Gurkhas in the British Army boasts of over 3,500 personnel from Nepal, a heritage of the colonial days of the British rule in India.

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