Secret Tibetan military force at stake in Indo-China conflict


Photographer: Mohammad Arhan Archer / AFP Getty via Image

At a funeral last week in the mountains of North India, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top aides honored a Tibetan soldier killed on the frontline of deadly skirmishes with China.

Surrounded by soldiers waving flags from both India and Tibet, Ram Madhav placed a wreath before the coffin during a ceremony that paid full military honors to the deceased. The national general secretary of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party now said in a tweet that he hoped the death of the soldier would lead to peace on the “Indo-Tibet border”.

The rare recognition of a secret Indian military unit with Tibetan troops has threatened to escalate a border dispute that has killed dozens of people since May and strengthens economic ties between the world’s most populous countries . More importantly, India had questioned China’s sovereignty over Tibet – a red line for Beijing, which sees separatism as a cause, also worth fighting for Taiwan from Xinjiang to Hong Kong. is.

Robbie Barnett led Columbia University’s Modern Tibetan Studies Program until 2018 and has written about the region since the 1980s, “Indians have sent a message – a very strong message, which they probably haven’t sent for decades . ” “The participation of exiled Tibetans and the use of exiled Tibetan icons, pictures and flags is extremely important for its interpretation.”

Stress high

While the Foreign Ministers of India and China agreed on the need for restraint during a meeting in Moscow last week, tensions at the border are higher than at any point after hostilities resume. The two sides continue to attack forces in the disputed region, crucial for controlling the important Himalayan mountain passes, firing along the Line of Actual Control for the first time in more than four decades in this month.

Over the past few weeks, China moved fighter jets and heavy bombers from the Central Theater Command, Beijing’s strategic reserve to the Indian border, which, according to Indian defense officials, was not carried out even when the two sides went to war in 1962, The person who asked to speak with the media could not be identified because of the rules. China’s Ministry of Defense did not answer fax questions.

According to Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, neither country has an incentive to go to war, but the increased intensity and persistence of friction can cause them to stumble into one. Eurasia Group picked up last week The possibility that border skirmishes could result in a more sustained military conflict up to 15%.

Narang said, “An advertisement or unintentional incident at a local flash point can now foster a truly widespread conflict that neither government wants,” adding that he wrote a book about the strategy of regional nuclear powers is.

Dalai Lama

Tibet, an area the size of South Africa that stretches across the Himalayas, has been a point of contention in India’s relations with China since the Dalai Lama fled to the South Asian nation after a failed uprising in 1959. To the displeasure of the exile Beijing, in the north-Indian city of Dharamshala. India only In 2003, Tibet was recognized as part of China.

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