Risking Lives For Money

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Nepal indeed has a long history of contributing troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions. The Gurkhas, in particular, have gained a reputation for their bravery and professionalism in military operations around the world. Nepal's involvement in conflicts such as supporting the British during the Sepoy Mutiny and participating in both World Wars can be seen in the context of historical alliances and diplomatic relationships. During the time of the Rana regime in Nepal, there were strategic and diplomatic considerations in aligning with the British Empire. However, the Nepali youths joining the Russian Army out of desperation and frustration, caused by widespread unemployment, is now a vexing issue, exposing socio-economic hardships Nepalis have been facing. Unemployment and limited opportunities have forced Nepali youths to work in dangerous conditions. 

As per official figures, 14 Nepali youths have been killed while fighting from the Russian side in the Russia-Ukraine war. Although there are no official reports, it is believed that about 1,500 Nepali youths have been engaged in fight against Ukraine. Families back home have made every possible request to the government to rescue their loved ones serving on the front line of the vicious conflict but our diplomatic efforts to rescue our youths does not seem enough. The families of Nepali youths slain in the military conflict have demanded the repatriation of the dead bodies of their kin so that they can perform their funeral rites. Considering the gravity of the matter, the Nepali embassy in Moscow is doing its best for the repatriation of the Nepali youths working as mercenaries.

As per news reports, each family of the deceased youth will receive Rs. 15 million in compensation and Rs. 7.3 million if the one that got killed had no insurance. The Russian government has agreed to pay compensation through the Nepali Embassy in Moscow. The Russian government has taken responsibility for providing compensation to the families of the youths killed. It is necessary to discourage foreign youths from joining in risky battle. Families of Nepalis recruited in the Russian 'special military operation'  have persistently urged the government to take diplomatic initiatives for the repatriation of their loved ones as more reports of Nepali youths getting killed in the frontline continue to pour in.  

Such a situation highlights the importance of addressing issues such as unemployment, poverty, and economic backwardness in Nepal to provide better prospects for its citizens and reduce the need for such drastic measures to support the family. It also underscores the importance of international cooperation and support in helping countries like Nepal to address their socioeconomic challenges. It might sound harsh but it’s a grim reality that labour has become the main export of Nepal. The economy of the country is highly dependent on remittance. Youths battered by unemployment are paying huge sums to manpower agents to get recruited in the Russian Army. Nepal Police on December 5 arrested 10 people on charge of luring the Nepali youths into the Russian force. We should retain our youths by creating job opportunities so that our labour force can constructively contribute to the economic development and they are not compelled to join as mercenaries in foreign armed forces.

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