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China now includes Tibetans in its India-border patrol units

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(TibetanReview.net, Jun28’23) – Tibetan recruits in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have now started taking part in border patrols along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, reported indiatoday.in Jun 27, citing top Indian government sources. It said Tibetans have been inducted due to their high-level of endurance of the Himalayan mountain altitudes and extreme weather conditions.

The majority of the force, however, still consists of mainland Chinese soldiers, the report said.

China has faced challenges in deploying troops in super high-altitude areas like those opposite eastern Ladakh, and they believe that Tibetans are better suited to endure such conditions, the report added.

In order to strengthen its military presence along the LAC with India, China is said to have made it mandatory for every Tibetan family to send one member to join the PLA.

The report cited sources as saying the Chinese were making significant efforts to bolster their presence along the LAC, particularly in extreme weather areas like Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. For this, the Chinese army is actively recruiting Tibetan youths within its territory and providing them with training for operations along the LAC with India. Regular exercises are being held to prepare these recruits for special operations along the border.

However, being recruited is said to involve undergoing tests of loyalty to China, including learning the mainland Chinese language and accepting the supremacy of the Chinese Communist Party over any other belief.

The initiative to recruit Tibetans into the Chinese army was stated to have gained momentum in early 2021 after China observed the performance of Tibetans-in-exile while serving in the Special Frontier Forces of the Indian Army.

The inclusion of Tibetan recruits in the Chinese army also has the additional advantage of bringing in greater acceptance of Chinese rule among the local population in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), the report noted.

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