New Delhi: The recruitment of Nepalis into the Indian Army’s seven Gorkha regiments – that make up 43 Battalions – will be done through the Agnipath scheme, ThePrint has learnt.
Feedback shows that Nepali Gorkhas were keen on the recruitment rally, sources in the defence and security establishment said.
Similar to the terms for Indian soldiers, the Nepalis would also be recruited for a period of four years, following which 25 per cent would be retained for a longer term.
Sources also said talks were on between the Indian, Nepalese and British armies to fix dates for recruitment.
The recruitment of Gorkhas from Nepal would take place through two Gorkha Recruitment Depots (GRD) situated in Darjeeling in West Bengal and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.
The Indian Army’s 43 Battalions of Gorkhas Regiment has soldiers both of Nepal domicile and those from India.
Sources said Nepalis constitute a fixed 60 percent while Indians make up the rest.
On the Indian side, the Gorkhas are recruited from Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Assam and Meghalaya.
The recruitment process
The recruitment of Indian Gorkhas is done through the Army Recruitment Office (ARO) situated in these states.
Detailing how Nepalis are recruited, sources said the armies of India, Nepal and the UK first decide on a date for the recruitment rally.
On this particular day, representatives from all three armies conduct a written and physical test at a particular location in Nepal.
A source said: “Let us say, 100 candidates have turned up at the rally and the British want 20, India 40 and the Nepal Army 50. The top 20 recruits are given the choice of joining the British Army, which offers the highest pay and allowances. The next lot is taken by India, which gives 2.5 times the pay and allowance of the Nepal Army.”
Army faces crunch when recruiting Indian-domicile Gorkhas
Sources said there was no dearth of recruits from Nepal into the Gorkha regiments.
Once Nepali soldiers retire from the Indian Army, they are lapped up by countries like Thailand and Singapore to serve in their police forces. These countries prefer those who have trained and served in India, sources said.
The problem is with the Indian-domicile Gorkhas. They revealed the Army has recently seen a shortfall of 10 to 15 per cent in the 40 per cent reserved for Indians.
As a solution, the Army has started recruiting Kumaonis and Gadwalis to make up for the shortfall.
However, this was not a permanent feature, sources said, adding, the Army hopes more Gorkhas of Indian domicile would be inspired to turn up when they see their quota going to others.