The Armed Forces Minister in a statement has stated the Head of the British Army is examining proposals to create a Sikh regiment.
The idea is being once again considered after plans were abandoned in 2007, after a national debate. The Defense Chiefs of the country stated it would be “racist” to have a Sikh regiment. However, supporters of the British Sikh regiment claimed if a Gorkha Regiment of Nepali soldiers can be be allowed then why not a Sikh regiment?
Prince Charles supported the idea of revising the Sikh martial tradition in the UK in the form of a regiment like the one during the world wars.
Now debate has once again started after comments from the head of defense in the UK.
The Minister Mark Francois has stated the idea “may well have merit” and that a company in the reserves can also be considered.
Another UK Minister, stated that the regiments past history in the British army would incorporate “proud traditions of Sikh regiments.”
When the Defense Minister was questioned on the idea he stated it right to raise a Sikh regiment and to “do away with political correctness.”
The debated has started strong among ministers
The Mid Sussex MP told Mr 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?”
Mr 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.”
Conservative Rory Stewart, chairman of the Defence Select Committee, also asked Mr Francois to look at a Sikh company within the reserves “as a starting point”.
He added: “There seems to be much more possibility within the reserves to begin what seems like an excellent idea.”
Mr Francois replied: “I said earlier the idea may have merit but we’ve looked at one specific option, or are looking, at the possibility of a reserve company – not least one which would inherit many of the proud traditions of Sikh regiments going back through many years in the British Army.
“(Defence Minister Julian Brazier) is leading on that particular aspect and he too remains in contact with CGS on this matter.”
With inputs from the ARGUS