A panel discussion involving MPs, scholars and Gurkha veterans and activists on claims of inequality and discrimination against Gurkha soldiers of the British Army.

Free admission, register online

Moderator: Dr Dibyesh Anand, Head of Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster

Panelists

  • Damian Collins, MP (Con) PPS to Secretary of State, Northern Ireland
  • Virendra Sharma, MP (Lab)
  • Dr Chandra Laksamba, Centre for Nepal Studies
  • Deepak Maskey, Director of Communications for Gurkha Satyagraha
  • Lt. Colonel Hamish Adams, Served six tours in the Brigade of Gurkhas and commanded the Queen's Gurkha Signal Regiment from 1987 to 1990.
  • Frederick Hyde-Chambers OBE, Executive Chairman, Enterprise & Parliamentary Dialogue International, Chairman, Buddhist Chaplaincy Support Group
  • Major (GCO) Lalbahadur Gurung

Rationale

Equality is a basic principle we expect in a modern democracy and yet the debate over the Gurkhas in British Army has shown severe obstacles faced in the materialisation of this principle. While there has been political and media coverage of this subject for some years now due to efforts of a few prominent supporters as well as Gurkha (ex)soldiers themselves, it is rare to come across a serious deliberation over the subject in an academic environment.

The Gurkhas’ service to the British Crown goes back to 1815. They initially fought as troops under contract to the East India Company but became part of the British Indian Army following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. They have been actively deployed in all major conflicts (including Indian Mutiny, the First and Second World Wars, Malaya Insurgency, Borneo Confrontation and the Falklands War) and, more recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is believed that over 43,000 Gurkhas have died fighting for Britain. The Brigade of Gurkhas has been an integral part of the British Army since 1947 under the terms of the Tri-Partite Agreement between Britain, Nepal and India. The campaigns to secure Gurkhas their rights and recognition has been going on for years and some progress has been made. Yet, hurdles remain in achieving substantive equality for all.

The Emerging Powers Programme (EPP) of the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) at the University of Westminster is committed to investigations into topics of public interest that pertain to Britain’s interaction with the non-Western world. The topic of policy, principle and politics of Gurkha contribution to British army is one such topic and it is timely to have this discussion.