China has recruited young Tibetans for its special military units that will be deployed for high-altitude warfare along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), reports said.
The new units reportedly called, ‘Mimang Cheton’, are being trained by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and will be deployed in the eastern and western sectors of the India-China border in the upper Himalayan ranges, The Hindu reported citing intelligence inputs.
According to the report, two batches have completed training and have been deployed at multiple sites in the strategically important Chumbi Valley, located between Bhutan in the east and Sikkim in the west. Another batch is undergoing training at Phari near Sikkim, the report said.
The units are also being deployed at Rutog in Tibet, near the Pangong Tso (lake) in eastern Ladakh.
PLA chose to train local Tibetans because of their adaptability, knowledge of the local language and resistance to high altitude sickness, experts said.
The recruits are yet to get uniforms or ranks. They are, however, being trained for a range of tasks including using high-tech equipment such as drones as mules and horses to reach regions in the Himalayan range.
The units will be used for warfare, surveillance and to ensure supplies to PLA troops.
The report suggests that the units are also being blessed by Buddhist monks in Tibet after the completion of their training. The move is being seen as PLA’s attempt to have greater social and cultural connect with ethnic Tibetans.
The training of young Tibetans by the PLA comes after the clashes between India and China began in May last year following the latter’s intent to take control of strategic heights south of Pangong Tso.
India has been deploying people of Tibetan origin for its elite yet secret Special Frontier Force (SFF) for decades. The SFF came to the limelight after it made countermoves against the PLA during last year’s brawl in eastern Ladakh.
The standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies was one of the worst in 45 years, following which the two sides engaged in at least 11 rounds of talks for the disengagement process.
A year after the Galwan clashes, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar clarified that the progress of Indo-China relations depends on whether China lives up to its written commitments about not deploying a large armed force along the LAC in Ladakh.
In response to Jaishankar’s statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that India and China should address the boundary issue through peaceful negotiations without linking it to bilateral ties.
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)