It has been reported that Nepali Gurkhas are joining Russia’s Wagner Group. It is Russia’s private military company that recently revolted against Vladimir Putin. They see a better life prospectus there, the major reason for this is eased access to Russian Citizenship. Another major reason is the pause on the recruitment of Gurkhas in the Indian Army at present.
The Wagner group is considered to be even more efficient and powerful than the Russian Army. It has come to light from the time it took control of Bakmuth, which was a very crucial location for Russia in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Russia recently eased the condition for Gorkhas to gain Russian Citizenship. It reduced it from three years to one year of serving in the Military. Also, the compulsion of knowing the Russian language is now removed.
Who are Gurkhas?
Gurkhas are known for their formidable warrior skills and have been historically recruited by the British colonial army. Post-independence, Gurkha regiments were transferred to India. There are 47 battalions serving in seven Gurkha regiments in the Indian Army at present. They have also been recruited to the militaries of France and Singapore in the past.
Strategic analyst Major General Binoj Basnyat (retired) from the Nepal Army noted that this is a concerning situation. He said that they have gone in an individual capacity and that limits the Nepal government’s ability to intervene.
They are lured towards joining Wagner with much high payment as well as chances to attain Russian Citizenship. The lack of opportunities in the Indian Army is considered a major reason as well. Gorkhas are not happy with the Agnipath Scheme which replaced the 200-year-old recruitment process.
Reaction from the opposition
The opposition has slammed the BJP Government for this condition stating that the policy on recruitment to the Army is flawed and has become the reason for Gurkhas to join the foreign military group.
Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh said that the Agnipath scheme is ill-conceived and that no Gurkha soldiers will be entering the Indian Army in 2023. This disruption is leading to Gurkhas being recruited by private military companies like the Wagner Group.
The congress also took note of reports on China luring Gurkhas for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).