British Sikhs identification with the armed forces

Asifa Hussain, Mohammed Ishaq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper is the second in a series of studies which gauges the perceptions of the armed forces held by ethnic minorities living in Britain. The paper concentrates on Sikhs’ perceptions of the British Armed Forces. British Sikhs of Indian origin represent one of the three main ethno-religious groups (the others being Pakistani Muslims and Indian Hindus) whose views the MoD is interested in gauging for the purpose of facilitating its ethnic minority recruitment drive. In recent years, this has become a very important issue due to the low number of ethnic minorities in the armed forces; and despite recent
measures to attract more minorities this has not been fully realized.
The majority of Sikhs living in Britain today came from India. Despite making up
approximately 0.7 per cent of the British population, Sikhs comprise only 0.02 per cent of the armed forces.1 The MoD is keen to achieve Sikh numbers in the Forces that reflect their numbers in the population.
The lack of literature on ethnic minority perceptions has always been a drawback in the efforts to isolate perceptions that minorities in Britain hold of the institutions that serve them. Given that the literature on the different
ethno-religious groups is narrow in scope, it is hoped therefore that the work contained in this paper will make an important academic as well as practical contribution to the debate on ethnic minority recruitment into the British Armed Forces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalDefence and Security Analysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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