Loyalty has long characterised Gurkha service to Britain. During the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Gurkha soldiers remained loyal and were renowned for their service at the Siege of Delhi, fighting side by side with both British and Indian troops to retake the city from the rebels. Officers and soldiers of the 60th Kings Royal Rifle Corps were so struck by this that they lobbied for Gurkha soldiers to share their designation as “Riflemen”. This is the origin of Gurkha regiments being termed “ x Gurkha Rifles” and their soldiers holding the rank of Rifleman rather than Private.
During both World Wars Nepal remained a firm ally of Britain, even though there was no pressing geopolitical threat to Nepal itself, increasing recruitment to match the needs of an expanded Gurkha Brigade. Nepal even placed its own armed forces at the disposal of the British Crown during the conflicts. The Nepalese Prime Minister is recorded to have said during the Second World War, “Does a friend desert a friend in time of need? If you win, we win with you. If you lose, we lose with you.”
Today Nepal stands as Britain’s oldest ally in Asia, with treaties dating back over 200 years.