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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 January, 2005, 13:46 GMT
Gurkha aid offer 'not necessary'
Gurkha troops
The offer of two British helicopters has been accepted
An offer to send Gurkhas to assist with the tsunami aid effort has been turned down by the Indonesian government.

Britain had offered to send 120 Gurkhas from the 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles, based in Brunei, to Indonesia.

A Foreign Office spokesman said Indonesia had expressed gratitude but said it did not need more troops and its priority was technical assistance.

The UK's offer to send two helicopters instead has been accepted, the Ministry of Defence confirmed.

A spokesman said: "The offer was made and they have made an assessment of what they can use and what they need.

Disaster summit

"They have accepted the idea of the two helicopters, but given the number of infantry soldiers already in the region, they felt further ground troops weren't required."

A Downing Street spokesman added the government was "relaxed" about the decision, saying it was up to the Indonesian government to decide what type of assistance was needed.

He said there were no plans at present to offer the Gurkhas to any of the other stricken countries.

Indonesia was the country worst affected by the tsunami, with 94,000 of the 140,000 confirmed deaths so far.

The offer of Gurkha help came as the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw arrives in Indonesia for a special summit meeting on the disaster.

Why the Gurkhas are well suited to the task


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