1947 tripartite agreement on Gurkha soldiers ‘redundant’: Nepal minister

New Delhi (NVI): Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali has said that the 1947 Tripartite Agreement between India, the UK and Kathmandu, that allowed India and Britain to recruit Gurkhas, has become irrelevant now in the “changed political context”.

The Nepal FM’s remarks came yesterday while responding to lawmakers in the country’s parliament where Gyawali said that Nepal now wants to deal separately with India and the UK as the tripartite agreement involving Nepal, India and the UK was reached when the political context in Nepal was different, reports My Republica, a Kathmandu-based daily.

“We raised this issue during the recent visit of the prime minister to the UK. The relevance of the tripartite agreement is already over. We have told that we want to talk to India and the UK separately,” the Nepal daily quoted the minister as saying.

It is pertinent to mention here that earlier this year, Nepal had 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.

Gyawali, while speaking in the parliament yesterday, said that Nepal wants to discuss the recruitment of Gurkha soldiers as bilateral issue with the UK.

He recalled that the issue of reviewing the tripartite agreement was included in the Joint Statement issued after the conclusion of the visit of Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli to the UK. He also said that the issue was raised with the British Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster during his visit to Nepal in February 2019.

According to the Nepal daily, the remarks of Foreign Minister Gyawali came at a time when a section of the lawmakers and intellectuals in the Himalayan country are raising questions whether it is appropriate to send Nepali youths to serve in the foreign armies.

Foreign Minister Gyawali said although joining the foreign armies was an important means of employment opportunity in the past, the policy now needs a review in the changed context, the newspaper reported.

-ARK