The first summit in Singapore in June 2018 between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim was secured by the well-known and highly skilled Gurkha soldiers.
Although both US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un bring strong guards to the summit in Singapore in 2018, the host country still applies maximum security measures, according to standards for important political events. One of these is the mobilization of special combatants of the Gurkha force of the Singapore army.
These are Gurkha warriors originating from Nepal, still serving in foreign troops including England, India, Singapore and Brunei. This is a tradition dating back to the 19th century when East India Shipping Company used these warriors as mercenaries to build its own army.
Gurkha soldiers are particularly elite, good-willed, brave and extremely loyal. They formed their own British-Indian regiment and fought in both world wars.
When India gained independence from Britain in 1949, Gurkha soldiers were divided, joining the British or Indian army. Those on the British army payroll were relocated to the remaining British colonies. In Malaysia and Singapore, Gurkha soldiers replace the position of Sikh soldiers who return to India after the country is independent.
Singapore Gurkha was founded in 1949 with 142 people, and this number was up to 2,000 in 2003. Every year, 320 people were selected out of a total of 20,000 applications registered at the British Gurkha barracks in Pokhara city, Nepal. 80 of these will be taken to Singapore and the rest will be on the British army. This is considered one of the most rigorous selection processes in the world.
In a country like Nepal, a position in overseas Gurkhas is a dream of escape from poverty for many young people aged 18-21. Enrollees will have to carry 25 kg of sand and move a distance of 4.2 km uphill. They also need to jump over the chair 75 times in 1 minute and bend their stomach 70 times in 2 minutes. “This is Singapore’s most elite force. They are trained to meet the rigorous and stressful requirements…”, said Mr. Tim Huxley, director of the center in Singapore of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
Between a multicultural and multiracial Singapore, the Gurkha task force with a neutral image is a valuable security “asset” to the government, Huxley said. Gurkha forces are regularly deployed to protect VIPs and riot. As regional tensions increased, Gurkha units were mobilized to protect international events and the Malaysia-Singapore border.
Singapore dedicated the Mount Vernon Camp, a suburb of the city, for the Gurkha warriors to live with their families. Singaporean without a mission will not be allowed to set foot in this place. Living hours are also strictly controlled, the wife of a Gurkha operative said. “Every night, the curfew starts at 0am. If there is a good reason, women are still allowed to leave the camp, but men never get a curfew”, she said.
“Here we have to go to bed before 10:30 every night. We must not open music or other pleasures. Although we are having a party, we must stop when it’s time. If you stubbornly violate, the patrol force will have coercive measures”, she added.
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