Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum from the Gurkha International Group of Companies

  We have now had the chance to read the Uncorrected Evidence presented by Dr Denis MacShane MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on 13 June 2002, and submit further comments with reference to that Uncorrected Evidence.

  In Paragraph 178, Mr Andrew Mackinlay MP questions the use of the word "Gurkhas" outside Her Majesty's Forces, and in the context of private companies. Dr MacShane at Paragraph 179 expresses his surprise at meeting the word in this context. As this is a matter of some importance for ourselves (we have used the word in our title since 1994), we feel that this is worth clarifying.

  Gurkha (or Goorkha) is the town and state from which the present Royal Family of Nepal derived in the 18th century. Its armies were manned by "Gurkhas", and the name thus passed into useage as the name for members of the Nepalese Army and for men recruited by other Armies and organisations from Nepal. It is currently used of soldiers in the Royal Nepalese, Indian and British Armies, as well as of retired British Gurkhas in the Sultan of Brunei's Gurkha Reserve Unit and of policemen in the Gurkha Contingent of the Singapore Police Force. It is a name much used in Nepal in tourism and commerce, and is the brand name of items such as cigarettes and alcohol there. It is used by many companies in Nepal involved in recruiting and employment, and in security duties. It is also used in other countries such as Hong Kong in the same way.

  From a British viewpoint, the use of the word is important in securing employment for our ex-soldiers. Gurkhas are recruited worldwide, and are sought by employers of many types who recognise them as attractive potential employees because they are "Gurkhas". Potential employers need to be able to seek ex-Gurkha servicemen from sources which can be identified by them as recruiting and employing Gurkhas. Efforts to find employment for our ex-servicemen would suffer if there were to be any difficulties made regarding the use of the name. It is the mission of our Company Group to find employment for our ex-servicemen Gurkhas, and we do that best by using their name in our title.

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Managing Director

Gurkha International Group of Companies

July 2002

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