London: The British government has formed a talks team to discuss the demands of former Gurkha soldiers.
Deputy Chief of Mission and Spokesperson at the Nepali Embassy in London Roshan Khanal said that the British government has informed the embassy regarding the formation of a talks team led by Minister for Defence People and Veterans Leo Docherty.
A meeting will be held within three weeks to discuss the modalities for talks,” Khanal told Nepal Live Today.
Earlier, the Nepal government had formed a talks team to hold dialogue with the United Kingdom regarding the demands of former Gurkha soldiers. A Cabinet meeting in March had formed a delegation led by Nepali Ambassador to the UK Gyan Chandra Acharya for talks.
The British government had agreed to form a talks team to address the demands of former Gurkhas veterans after former Gurkha soldiers Gyan Raj Rai, Dhan Gurung, and Pushpa Rana Ghale, a member of the Gurkha family, staged a 13-day hunger strike near the British Prime Minister’s Office in London in August.
A British minister had written a letter to the then Nepali Ambassador Lokdarshan Regmi stating that the British government was ready to hold talks with the Nepali government on the demands of ex-Gurkha soldiers by December 2021.
Different associations associated with former Gurkha soldiers have been warning of another round of protest stating that no progress has been made even after five months since the deadline expired.
Speaking to Nepal Live Today hunger striker Pushpa Rana Ghale said that she had not received any formal information about the talks team.
“It’s good that a talks team has been formed although late Now the demands of the ex-Gurkha soldiers should be addressed on the basis of the recommendations given by the technical committee,” she stressed.
Demands of Gurkha veterans
Gurkha soldiers who retired before 1997 have been protesting putting forth different demands including pensions on par with their British counterparts. Their demand includes equal pensions, free health service for Nepalis similar to the British, compensation for those laid off, and equal pensions for widows.
Different Nepali organizations and British parliamentarians have been supporting protests by the Gurkha veterans.
Nepal government has been saying it was committed to addressing the issue through diplomatic means. However, the Coordinator of Gorkha Satyagraha Joint Struggle Committee Prem Bahadur Rai said the protest will continue until their demands are addressed.