Defence chiefs have abandoned plans to raise a regiment of British Sikhs amid fears that the move would be branded racist.
The proposal to create the regiment, reminiscent of those that fought for Britain in the two world wars, was dropped by the Ministry of Defence after discussions with the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).
Sikh leaders had informed Army recruitment officers that they could easily find enough volunteers to form a 700-strong regiment. However, despite the infantry being under strength by 3,000 soldiers, the offer was rejected.
Lieutenant General Sir Freddie Viggers, the Adjutant General with responsibility for recruitment, is understood to have accepted the argument put forward by race commissioners at the CRE that creating a Sikh regiment would be divisive and amounted to "segregation"....
Kuljit Singh Gulati, the general secretary of the Sikh Temple in Shepherd's Bush, west London, said: "The Sikhs have a long and distinguished heritage of serving with the British Army.
"I know there are many, many Sikhs who would join up and would serve wherever required. But if you want to get them in large numbers they need their own regiment, something they would take a huge amount of pride in.
"They would regard it as very prestigious. It is a shame that it now looks as though it will never happen."
Leaders of Britain's 500,000 Sikhs were supportive of the idea of a new regiment.... [Link]
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