Army’s Gorkha soldiers hope India will stand by Nepal in their moment of grief
Whereas, the serving soldiers would be naturally worried about their kith and kin, the veterans who are living in the affected area of Nepal would also be looking up to the good old Indian Army for help and relief. The expectations are very high, especially because we have Gorkha regiment officer General Dalbir Singh Suhag heading the Indian Army.
Soldiers aside, this is one time when India should treat Nepal’s loss as an Indian loss, because history, geography, religion and culture have placed us as one geographical area, the division of national boundaries should not let us lose the “human touch”. The Prime Minister of India has rightly shown the way, but this earth quake is also in the hinterland from where the bulk of the recruitment of the Indian Army takes place. The Army needs out of the box solutions to put to rest the worry that a soldier from Nepal feels for his kith and kin, while being deployed in the remote corners of the nation guarding our boundaries.
The first thing that needs to be done is flow of information. Agreed the BSNL has made calls to Nepal free, but private players too need to do their bit for the Indian soldier. The Army needs to ensure that working through any channels information is provided to the soldier. This is easier said than done because infrastructure at the other ends is badly damaged. The critical battle will remain of information as the first tendency is to rush home on leave. In Nepal, rural infrastructure is so poor that a soldier going home on leave is at times given as much as seven days extra to reach home. They have to travel and walk, it’s not as well connected by various agencies constructing roads. If through all this clutter a soldier is able to speak or get information of his near and dear ones half the battle is won.
The Indian Army has a lot of recruitment infrastructure up to district levels in Nepal. It also has hospitals and welfare facilities. There is a need to treat these as nodal agencies for purposes of relief for all. This will ensure that aid properly accounted for is able to reach the remotest areas, and there is some agency answerable and accountable to handle this aid. Another way to divide Nepal is Kathmandu and the rural areas, East and West of the same. The Indian nation needs to ensure that the elite in Kathmandu get their due as also the rural areas where Indian Army has a strong presence. As far as the Terai area is concerned most of it borders India. This is the time to open medical infrastructure by India across the border and provide free medical aid. As there is no problem of citizens crossing India needs to be magnanimous about medical aid and provision of food, clothes and tent age. Labor from Nepal is used extensively in all the border hill states of India. The bulk of the reconstruction work in Uttarakhand has been done by a lot of tough hardy and cheap Nepali workers.
This will require coordination at the highest levels between the various agencies. There needs to be a special cell established at Adjutant General Branch, Army Headquarters, such that all possible agencies are coordination with. The foreign office needs to be kept in the loop, so do many Para military organizations as well as many personal those have gone there. There is one caveat, none of these organizations recruit personal only the Army does, and thus it should ensure that its soldiers too get their due.
India needs to treat Nepal in this case like one of its own. Nepal lacks the infrastructure, wherewithal, and the expertise to do it alone. The two nations have deep, religious and cultural ties. The Johnny Gorkha never let anyone down it’s our turn now to ensure he gets his due.