A 19-year-old Kiwi Indian is setting an example for the young members of the community to come forward and join the New Zealand Defence Forces.
Kabir Singh comes from a family who has been serving in the Indian Army and Indian Air Force for the past three generations and says his upbringing in such a family shaped his decision to join the much respected and coveted New Zealand Army.
Kabir came from Indian with his parents when he was five and studied at Papatoetoe High School in South Auckland. Currently serving as a PTE in the Territorial forces- Infantry Regiment in the New Zealand Army, Kabir is the youngest Indian and Sikh to be part of the New Zealand Army.
Kabir applied in the Army at the age of 18 and went off to do his basic training earlier this year and graduated to become NZ Army soldier.
In conversation with The Indian Weekender, Kabir tells more about his career goals, and passion to be a part of the Defence Forces.
IWK: What motivated you to join the New Zealand Army?
Kabir: Listening to the stories from my parents about my grand and great grandparents who were a part of the high decorated Indian Army and Indian Air Force ignited a passion and dream from my very childhood to join and be a part of the New Zealand Army. I have grown up listening to stories of these fearless, brave and kindhearted Sikh soldiers and their contribution in wars.
IWK: What are the activities do you in the Army, how has been the experience so far?
Kabir: The Army stands at four values- courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity. We work in accordance with these values. Our primary job role is work mostly outdoors in close-knit teams, learning combat skills such as weapon handling, navigation, fieldcraft and survival.
IWK: How does it feel to be the youngest Indian in the NZ Army?
Kabir: I feel honoured and privileged, and I am truly blessed to be the youngest Sikh of Indian origin in the Army. The Army has made me into the confident person that I am now, and the discipline and self-improvement are just phenomenal.
IWK: How do you think you being in the Army will motivate people of the Indian community to choose this career?
Kabir: I want to encourage the youngsters to join and be with one of the Defence Forces, and this is something I really want to encourage my youngsters to be a part of. Many people do not know this, but, NZ Defence Forces also offer the option to join the Territorial Forces for people who are doing other full-time work, parallel.
As a part of inviting more youngsters in the Army, we have set up stalls in several community events where we can talk to the youngsters of the community and families to get the community members to know more about joining the Defence Forces and seek career opportunities. The NZ Defence Force has a message for the public and especially youngsters which is 'WE NEED YOU'.
IWK: How has been the support of your family and community?
Kabir: My family has always been there for me every step of the way, supporting me and are very proud of my career decisions. I come from a military background; my grandfather was an Indian Army Officer; my great grandfather was in the British Indian Army and his father before him as well. It goes the same for my mother's side of the family where her father was an Indian Air Force Officer.
The respect and support I receive from the community, it's just unbelievable, when people simile and get so happy to see one of their own be in the uniform. Youngsters get attracted to the uniform; they approach us to come and talk, take pictures and know more about Army life.
IWK: What are your long-term plans being in the Army?
Kabir: I want to become an Army Officer someday. I am also studying at the university pursuing my tertiary education. In the next five years, I would apply in the Army to serve full time as a legal advising officer with the Army.
IWK: A message for the young Kiwi Indians about joining the Army
Kabir: There is no other job like it. You think of anything you want to do, and NZ Defence Forces provide a lot of opportunities. Our community is very much capable of being part of this vibrant and respectable organisation. I want people and especially youngsters to join and see what the NZ Defence Force has to offer.