Nepal has officially proposed to the UK a review of a 73-year-old tripartite agreement with India and Britain over the recruitment and deployment of Gurkha soldiers and their perks and facilities and replace it with a bilateral one, according to a media report on Monday.
An agreement between New Delhi, London and Kathmandu following India’s Independence from colonial rule in 1947 allowed India and Britain to recruit Gurkhas, The Kathmandu Post reported.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on February 12 sent a letter to London, seeking a review of the tripartite agreement, the report said.
Nepal’s official request for a review comes months after Prime Minister KP Oli first raised the issue during his meeting in June last year with then British Prime Minister Theresa May in London. After the meeting between Oli and May, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali had said Nepal had proposed a review of the agreement, to which May had responded “positively”. A joint statement issued after the meeting, however, stopped short of mentioning that Oli had raised the issue.
A senior official at the Prime Minister’s Office said the letter was sent to the United Kingdom for their consideration as per the policy of the present government to scrap or review all discriminatory treaties and pacts signed with other countries and make them applicable to the changed context, the paper said.
“We are following up on the matter in line with discussions held between the prime ministers of Nepal and Britain last year,” the official told the Post on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to speak to the media. “We are equally concerned about the grievances of Gurkha veterans.”
The tripartite pact between Nepal, India and Britain assures that all perks, remuneration, facilities and pension schemes for Nepalis serving in the British and Indian armies will be equal to those of British and Indian nationals. However, Gurkha veterans have long alleged that Britain has put in place discriminatory policies in remuneration.
In the letter to the UK government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that Gurkha veterans have genuine grievances that require a generous response from the British side on the basis of equality, justice and fairness, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Post. — PTI
Discrimination in pay, pension
- Gurkhas have long been demanding that the UK should compensate the amount that former and serving soldiers did not receive over the years due to discrimination against them in terms of pay, pension and other facilities
- The UK started providing equal pay and pension to Gurkhas in 2007. However, those recruited from 1975 to 1993 retired before 2007 were deprived of equal pay, pension and a host of other facilities
- Those who served the British Army from 1947 to 1975 when there was no provision for pension were also not provided equal pay and other facilities