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British Gorkha Regiment to recruit women soldiers

The British Gorkhas may soon acquire another notable feature by recruiting women soldiers, reports Anirban Roy.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 19:06 IST

Their bravery and tenacity is the stuff of legend. The British Gorkhas may soon acquire another notable feature - they may start recruiting women into their regiment.

Confirming the report, the British Ambassador to Nepal Andrew Hall told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that the matter was being seriously looked into.“Since women are now an integral part of the British Army, now, they should be incorporated in the Gorkha Regiment as well,” he noted.

Every year, the British Army recruits 230 people belonging to Magar, Gurung, Tamang, Limbu and Rai ethnic groups from Nepal through its recruitment unit at Pokha.

The Ambassador added that for almost 190 years, the formation has been an all male preserve."But women Gorkhas may well want to prove themselves as valiant as the males," he said.

Hall said if women are allowed to join the Gorkha Regiment, the recruitment policy and training module of the formation may have to be changed. The recruitment process is lengthy and strenuous and the aspirants need to race up a mountain with 35kg of rocks strapped on their backs.

“Women may not be asked to carry such a heavy load,” Hall said, adding that the British Army would also need to build new infrastructure to accommodate these women soldiers in the barracks.

The Gorkhas have won 13 Victoria Crosses, and are one of the most decorated regiments in the British Army.

And, they have been employed as an integral part of the British Army since the early 19th Century. Be it the Falklands war, the Iraq war or the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, the Gorkha Regiment has always met the British Army’s commitments with paramount dedication.


First Published: Nov 15, 2006 19:06 IST