Nepal foreign minister Narayan Khadka called Indian ambassador Naveen Srivastava to the ministry on Wednesday asking him to postpone the plan to recruitment of Nepali youth, who are drafted under the Army’s Gorkha regiment, under the Aagnipath scheme.
The announcement of the Agnipath, recruitment for the armed forces in India, met with widespread protests in parts of the country. However, there will be no rollback of the scheme, the military has insisted.
The Indian army had plans to recruit Nepalis in the western city of Butwal beginning yesterday and the eastern city of Dharan on September 1. According to Nepali publication My Republica, the foreign minister of Nepal told the Indian ambassador that “political parties in Nepal should have a unanimous view about the Agnipath scheme” and requested to stop the recruitment of Nepali youth until a consensus was reached.
Following the announcement of the scheme on June 14, the Indian army via the Indian embassy in Kathmandu wrote to Nepal’s foreign ministry seeking their approval for recruitment and security support, reported IANS. But the Nepal government had not communicated to the Indian side on their decision in the matter.
On Wednesday, a day ahead of the scheduled recruitment drive in Butwal, the country’s foreign minister asked India to delay the recruitment of Nepali youth under the scheme.
The newspaper further reported that defence analysts in Nepal are worried about the social impact of the scheme on Nepal.
A retired Nepal Army general was quoted by My Republica as saying, “The social impact on Nepali society must also be considered when young adults trained in warfare and weaponry are sent back to Nepal, rather than spending a full career in the Indian Gorkhas. There is even sociological evidence that such a situation is likely to raise the level of gun-violence and other types of violence in society, as Indian commentators have also suggested.”
It may be noted that Nepali nationals can be recruited into military services in India and the United Kingdom according to the tripartite treaty signed in 1947. Around 1,300 Nepalis would have been recruited under the Agnipath scheme this year, much below the numbers from the previous year, as per Kathmandu Post.
Reacting to it, Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have been recruiting Gorkha soldiers to the Indian Army for a long time. We look forward to continuing to recruit Gorkha soldiers to the Indian Army under the Agnipath scheme.”