The Gurkhas are indigenous people mainly from the mid-western, eastern Nepal and the Gorkhaland region of India. Their name derives from the Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath (8th century). There are Gorkha military units in the Nepalese, British and the Indian army (Gorkhas) enlisted in Nepal and although they meet many of the requirements of Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions regarding mercenaries, they are exempt under certain clauses.

Gurkhas are closely associated with the Khukuri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife and have a well-known reputation for their fearless military prowess. The former Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, once stated that "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha”.

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