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Robert Clive's decisive victory at the Battle of Plassey in 1757 firmly established British supremacy in India thereby opening the door for expansion of the Honourable East India Company. Some 10 years after Plassey the British started to come into contact with a unique and vigorous power on the northern borders of its newly won territories in Bengal and Bihar.
This power was the city-state of Gorkha led by its dynamic king Prithwi Narayan Shah. Gorkha was a feudal hill village in what is now western Nepal, and is the place from which the Gurkha takes his name. Prithwi Narayan Shah and his successors grew so powerful that they overan the whole of the hill country from the Kashmir border in the west to Bhutan in the east.
Eventually, as a result of boundary disputes and repeated raids by Gurkha columns into British territory, the Governor General declared war on Nepal in 1814. After two long and bloody campaigns a Peace Treaty was signed at Sugauli in 1816.
During the war a deep feeling of mutual respect and admiration had developed between the British and their adversaries, the British being much impressed by the fighting and other fine qualities of the Gurkha soldier.
Under the terms of the Peace Treaty large numbers of Gurkhas were permitted to volunteer for service in the East India Company's Army.
From these volunteers were formed the first regiments of the Gurkha Brigade, and from this time stems Britain's friendship with Nepal, a country which has proved a staunch ally ever since and has become our 'oldest ally' in Asia.
Never has the trust that was then placed in the Gurkha soldier ever been in doubt. Alongside his British comrade in arms he has fought in many parts of the world and has proved himself to be of the closest friends and bravest of allies that Britain has known.
'Keeping the Peace' in India under the British flag began for Gurkha soldiers with the Pindaree War in 1817, and the first battle honour gained by Gurkha troops was at Bhurtpore in 1826.
The two senior regiments distinguished themselves in the hard fought battles of the 1st Sikh War in 1846, and six regiments of the Nepalese Army were offered to the East India Company for service in the 2nd Sikh War of 1848.