Army Chief Inspects More Than 400 New Gurkhas In Nepal

The head of the British Army has visited Nepal to inspect the newest Gurkha recruits.

Four hundred and thirty-two Gurkhas have joined the British Army - an increase on last year's record number of 400 trained at Catterick.

The recruits paraded in Pokhara before forming four lines and being inspected by General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, as well as other senior military figures.

The Army said the newly-selected Gurkhas also stepped forward and took the oath of allegiance to the Queen by saluting her image and touching a table where her photograph stands.

Gen Carleton-Smith also made a speech to the recruits, while more than 1,700 families and friends watched on.

The recruits then said their goodbyes to their loved-ones, as they now get ready to move to the UK to continue their career.

The Gurkhas only found out they had successfully joined the British Army last week, an Army statement said.

The new Gurkhas parade in Pokhara (Picture: British Army).
The new Gurkhas march on parade in Pokhara (Picture: British Army).

It followed "several area-based selection events" across Nepal that sees the budding soldiers tested mentally and physically. 

This year, more than 12,000 people from across Nepal applied to become a Gurkha in the British Army.

The year 2020's intake has seen 32 more Gurkhas welcomed into the British Army compared with last year's number of 400, which was the biggest since 1985.

The Army says it is "part of a wider Army plan to grow the number of Gurkhas and Gurkha units".

In December, Nepal's foreign minister said the country wanted to review its Gurkha deal with the UK.

Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said he wanted a new agreement that would address issues such as pensions and that the current deal does not allow Kathmandu to play any role in the recruitment process. 

Gurkhas have been serving the British crown since 1815.

There are around 3,000 Nepalis in the Brigade of Gurkhas who have fought in conflicts including Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.