British Army mulls proposal to raise new Sikh regiment

Feb 24, 2015, 18:47 IST | PTI

London: The British Army is examining proposals to re-establish a Sikh Regiment, along the lines of the erstwhile British Indian Army.

Chief of the general staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, is looking into the feasibility of a Sikh unit, including the
possibility of a reserve company, and it "may well have merit," UK armed forces minister Mark Francois told the House of Commons recently.

A new unit would inherit many of the "proud traditions of Sikh regiments" from the army's past, he said. Speaking during defence questions in Parliament, former defence minister Sir Nicholas Soames urged ministers to "do away with political correctness" and raise a Sikh regiment.

He told Francois, "You will be aware of the extraordinary gallant and distinguished service by Sikhs to this country down the generations.

"Would you not agree with me that it's high time to do away with the political correctness which infects some of this thinking and actually raise a Sikh regiment to serve in the country and make up a very serious gap in our Armed Forces?" he asked.

Francois replied, "With regard to your specific suggestion, can I say that you are one of a number of Members of Parliament who have raised this suggestion with me recently.

"We have passed this possibility on to the chief of the general staff (CGS), who is now looking at this issue and we are awaiting CGS's comments back. But the idea may well have merit," he said.

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