According to our correspondent’s report, a significant number of elite Gurkha force members have recently joined the ranks of the Wagner private military force. This development comes as a result of India implementing stricter regulations on the recruitment of Nepalese soldiers.
Videos posted online by Gurkha fighters have recently surfaced, showcasing their training with weapons at bases in Russia and Belarus. These individuals were seen dining in military canteens and discussing the potential risks associated with fighting in Ukraine.
The involvement of these Gurkha members with Wagner has caused embarrassment for the government in Kathmandu, as they were unable to prevent their citizens from participating in the Ukrainian conflict.
One such example is Kamal Acharya, a 22-year-old who departed his Nepalese village of Chisapani to join the Wagner forces in early May. On May 29, he shared a photo on social media holding a rifle inside a Russian military facility. A subsequent video on TikTok depicted him assembling weapons.
Umesh Shahi, a friend of Acharya, revealed that he joined Wagner after learning about the lucrative financial compensation involved.
Furthermore, additional Gurkha members have also enlisted to join these forces and partake in the fight in Ukraine.
During an interview with Nepali television, a young man stated, “After I graduate in Russia, I have two options: unemployment or joining the Russian army.”
Shahi emphasized that fitness played a crucial role in his acceptance after enlisting at the end of May. He revealed that more than a dozen other Nepalese nationals are undergoing rigorous training alongside foreign fighters at a base near the Ukrainian border.
“My training involves extensive use of modern weapons, which can span the entire day, even extending into the evening,” Shahi disclosed.
During the training period, Shahi mentioned that he receives a monthly salary of 50,000 Nepali rupees (equivalent to approximately 9 million VND) along with insurance coverage.
A former soldier from Nepal’s Karnali province, while working as a security guard in Dubai, shared that he found “an opportunity in the Russian army.” He recognized that his experience in the Nepalese army provided him with an advantage, enabling him to assimilate into the new force more swiftly.
“We have more than 200 foreign teammates and three Nepalese friends,” he added.
This soldier initially intended to join the French Foreign Legion but abandoned the idea due to complicated and challenging procedures.
It is believed that around 50 Gurkha members have joined the Wagner private military force since the conflict erupted in Ukraine, not to mention the estimated 200 Nepalese nationals who traveled to Russia to enlist in the group.
A Nepalese government source admitted that they were unaware of the exact number of Gurkhas who had joined the Wagner private military force.
Gurkha forces are renowned worldwide for their combat skills. They have been serving in the British army since 1815, and tens of thousands of Gurkha members are also enlisted in the Indian army.
However, last year, India replaced long-term recruitment with short-term contracts and implemented the controversial Agnipath scheme, which reduced the pension benefits.
In response, Nepal suspended the recruitment process under the Tripartite Pact between Great Britain, India, and Nepal, which had been in effect since 1947.