Chinese Army recruiting Tibetan youth for operations along LAC

Troops prepare for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping (unseen) at the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison at one of the events marking the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2017.

Troops prepare for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping (unseen) at the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison at one of the events marking the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2017. File photo/Reuters/Damir Sagolj

By Manjeet Negi | India Today

NEW DELHI, India, 10 July 2021

The Chinese army is recruiting Tibetan youth in its territory and training them for operations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India.

“We have been receiving intelligence inputs that the Chinese Army is recruiting Tibetan youth for carrying out special operations along the LAC with India and they have been holding regular exercises to prepare them for such operations,” top government sources told India Today.

The Tibetan youth are being inducted into the Chinese forces after going through a number of loyalty tests, which include learning the mainland Chinese language and accepting the supremacy of the Chinese communist party over any other beliefs such as following the Dalai Lama and other religious gurus, the sources said.

The induction began earlier this year after the Chinese saw how Tibetans-in-exile performed while serving in the Special Frontier Force (SFF) of the Indian Army.

The SFF is a unit that was raised in the post-1962 war period with joint training by Indian forces and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US. Ethnic Tibetans or Tibetans-in-exile make up a sizeable portion of this force.

The Tibetan youth bring multiple advantages for the Chinese army. China feels the move will lead to more acceptance among the local youth in the Tibetan Autonomous Region as well as ease the pressure of Chinese mainland soldiers deployed in mountainous regions like the one in Ladakh.

The Indian Army along with the SFF, which falls under the authority of the Cabinet Secretariat, managed to surprise the Chinese soldiers on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake last year when they captured the Mokhpari, Black Top and other heights.

India and China have been in a military stand-off since April-May last year and are yet to find solutions to de-escalate tensions at the friction points, including the Hot Springs-Gogra heights.

The Indian and Chinese sides have held multiple rounds of talks at both military and diplomatic levels but without much yield except for the limited mutual withdrawal of soldiers by both sides on both northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso.


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