China struggling to recruit Tibetans for India-border defence units?

Chinese army. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(, Oct27’21) – Despite employing a strong-arm drive, offering an attractive stipend, and having monks to bless them, China is getting a tepid response to its recruitment of Tibetans for its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) border defence force and its para-military outfits along the Himalayas, according to a report Oct 27.

The report said that so far only 63 Tibetans had been recruited in Ngari Prefecture, which adjoins India’s Union Territory of Ladakh where there is an ongoing warlike situation. The PLA is stated to have offered recruitment for one member from every Tibetan family in this westernmost part of Tibet, but with very limited success.

The report said the Ngari recruits were being trained for three months in the prefectural capital Shiquanhe (Tibetan: Sengge Khabag), which is located on the bank of Sengge Sangpo, the main headwater of the Indus River.

The report said the PLA opened recruitment for Tibetans after many Chinese recruits from the country’s coastal plains fell ill when dispatched to the line of actual control.

Besides, Tibetans have the advantage of knowing the terrain well.

Similar recruitment was stated to have been launched on Aug 2 in Chumbi Valley, which adjoins the India state of Sikkim. Its cadres were stated to have been undergoing training in northern Tibet’s Nagchu City since Sep 16.

Their curriculum was stated to include physical training, drill, and maintenance of accommodation.

The recruits are said to be divided into batches of 30, with the trainers being mostly Chinese, helped by Tibetan translators.

The recruits have reportedly been required to hand over their mobile phones to the authorities after being allowed to make one call home.

China previously reported a large number of applicants from TAR in the PLA’s annual recruitment drive; but that may be because the region is now home to a huge influx of Chinese immigrants.


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