London: Almost two centuries of Gurkha service in Britain's Armed Forces could draw to a close after Nepalese lawmakers backed a ban on recruitment once economic conditions are strong enough to generate alternative jobs.
A parliamentary report setting the Himalayan state's foreign policy recommends that the recruitment of Gurkhas to fight in foreign armies should end. Its authors complained that since Britain granted retired Gurkha troops the right to remain in the United Kingdom in 2009, the amount of income Nepal earns from the arrangement has declined.
A ban would break a bond which dates back to 1815 when the East India Company's officers defeated a Gurkha army but admired their valour.
Padam Lal Bishwakarma, the chairman of Nepal's parliamentary international relations and human rights committee, said: "Our youths are compelled to go abroad because of our lack of opportunities in our own country."
Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday sought to allay fears of any imminent ruling on the issue and stressed that the committee's report had simply been distributed throughout government. "The government has not said anything about this. There is no need to panic."