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Britain to sack 150 Gorkha soldiers

September 01, 2011 19:09 IST

Britain is to sack another 150 Gorkha soldiers as part of government's drive to reduce men-under-arms and the move has raised hackles in Nepal, the home of the fabled fighters.

British Defence Ministry announced on Thursday that it was pruning the armed forces by another 7,000 men to retain only a force of 95,000 men in battle fatigues by 2015 and the first cuts are to be in its famous Gorkha regiment, Daily Mail reported.

The paper said a total of 920 troopers and another 930 air force personnel were being made redundant. It quoted a senior army officer Brig Richard Nugee as saying that the cuts to the 3,500 strong Brigade of Gorkhas was necessary following recent changes in  the terms of services which has placed them on the same footing as the rest of the army.

But the British Defence Ministry said no ground troops and air crews involved in the current campaigns in Libya and Afghanistan were included in the cut back.

The Brigade of Gurkhas has grown in size since terms and conditions were amended in 2007 to allow soldiers to serve for a longer period. The decision would be a further blow to the British Gurkha soldiers who are fighting in the courts in the UK for equal retirement benefits as their colleagues in the army.

Reacting to the announcement, Gorkha Association's Jeet Bahadur Rai said the British government should not reduce the strength of the Gurkhas who had served the army for centuries.

"Our fight for equal pay and benefits will continue," he said.
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