(TibetanReview.net, Sep02’20) – Further reports emerging from the confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops across the Ladakh border in the night of Aug 29-30 suggest that there was exchange of violence without the use of firearms between the two sides. A Tibetan company leader belonging to the Special Frontier Force (SFF) was reported to have died in a mine explosion and at least one other Tibetan soldier reportedly got injured while patrolling along the Pangong Lake area.
“Nyima Tenzin from the Special Frontier Force has died from this confrontation and another Tibetan man from the same unit has sustained serious injuries and is currently undergoing treatment at Ladakh military hospital,” the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Sep 1 quoted Tsetan Wangchuk, the director of Sonam Ling Tibetan settlement in Leh, Ladakh, as saying.
Nyima Tenzin, 59, company commander of the SFF’s 7th battalion, was reported to have died in a mine blast on Aug 29 while his unit patrolled through the eastern side of the Pangong lake area.
Nyima Tenzin’s body was brought to Sonam Ling settlement in Ladakh where he belongs for cremation. The 33-year veteran of the SFF is survived by his wife and three sons.
The SFF unit, referred to as Vikas Battalion, was reported to be instrumental in occupying some key heights on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Indian move to thwart the nocturnal Chinese maneuver.
The move near the southern bank of Pangong Lake was crucial because if the Indian Army had not undertaken the pro-active military manoeuver, it would have been presented with a fait accompli like on the northern bank of Pangong Tso, Gogra and Depsang areas, from where the PLA has refused to withdraw from what India considers its territory, noted the economictimes.com Sep 1.
The SFF, set up in 1962 after the Sino-Indian war that year, was originally an all-Tibetan unit which now also includes Gorkha recruits as well. It has been put into service in special operations with remarkable records of success. It comes under the purview of the Cabinet Secretariat where it is headed by an Inspector General who is an Army officer of the rank of Major General. Former Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh, held that office at one point while in his service.
The SFF units are not part of the Army but they function under operational control of the Army. The units have their own rank structures which have equivalent status with Army ranks.
They took part in operations in the 1971 war, Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple Amritsar, Kargil conflict and in counter-insurgency operations in the country, noted the indianexpress.com Sep 2. There are several other operations too in which the SFF had participated but the details are classified, it added.