According to custom, their traditional curved knife, the khukri, must draw blood every time it is unsheathed. Admired for their valour and fighting skills, they have been recruited by the British military for more than 200 years. Some 1,800 serve in Singapore but they live separately from Singaporeans and are not allowed to marry local women.
Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Gurkhas of Nepal, one of most fearless people in the world, will provide security for the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s strongman Kim Jong-un.
The meeting in the city-state is scheduled for 12 June. Singapore Police Force, which includes a Gurkha contingent, will secure the summit venue, roads and hotels hosting the delegations.
The Gurkhas, who usually have a low-profile presence in Singapore, were more visible than usual at the weekend as they secured the hotel for a security conference that included Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and other regional ministers. For experts this was a rehearsal of the US-North Korea talks.
Despite their advanced weaponry, the Gurkhas do not prepare for battle without the khukri – a heavy curved knife. According to custom, the khukri must draw blood every time it is unsheathed.
Recruited from Nepal’s hill regions, about 1,800 Gurkhas serve in the Singapore police, across six paramilitary companies.
Admired for their valour and fighting abilities, the Nepali warriors have served Great Britain for more than 200 years.
At present, Gurkhas serve in the British, Indian and Nepalese armies, as well as in Brunei and Singapore. They have fought in both world wars as well as the Falklands conflict and, more recently, in Afghanistan.
In Singapore, they provide a neutral force within an ethnically diverse city state, including VIP and anti-riot protection.
At times of regional tension, they have protected international schools and are often seen at the Malaysia-Singapore border crossings.
They live with their families in the secure Mount Vernon Camp outside the city, an enclave that ordinary Singaporeans are not allowed to enter.
Typically recruited at 18 or 19, before being trained in Singapore, the Gurkha soldiers retire at 45 and are repatriated. Whilst their children attend local schools, Gurkhas are not allowed to marry local women.