Chinese tibetan militia in Sikkim: A two way move by China?

23 June, 2021 | newsx bureau

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China is recruiting unemployed Tibetan youths into Chinese army. It has deployed the first set of troops in the strategically important Chumbi Valley between Sikkim and Bhutan.

After border tensions with India last year, the Chinese military realised that its soldiers from plains can’t perform well in high altitudes, hence unable to stand up to Ladakhi or Tibetan soldiers joining the Indian Army. Recruiting unemployed Tibetan youths into Chinese army after 70 years of Tibet occupation, can be a two way move to not only target India but also gain Tibetan’s sympathy and support. “Most Chinese troops are from the plains and can’t perform well at high altitudes.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed the first set of troops of the newly raised Tibetan unit (purely of Tibetan ethnicity), the Special Tibetan Army Unit (STAU), in the strategically important Chumbi Valley between Sikkim and Bhutan.

The Tibetans who are recruited in the STAU are taken to Tibetan Monks after completion of their training for their blessings. It is reported that previously there was no such practice of taking Tibetan recruits to Tibetan Monks for their blessings. This is likely a new strategy of PLA to get some religious mileage from the newly recruited Tibetans in STAU.

“The PLA has deployed a new set of militia, which is known as Mimang Cheton (MC), in the Chumbi Valley under Yatung County in Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR),” said a source. ‘Mimang Cheton’ (MC) probably means “for the Public” in the Tibetan language. The MC consists of local Tibetan youths recruited and trained by the PLA. It is learnt that two batches of MC with around 100 youths in one batch have already completed their training and currently deployed at various locations in Chumbi valley viz Yutung, Cheema, Rinchengang, PB Thang and Phari.  The second batch of MC is currently undergoing training at their training facility at Phari. The MC is raised with the aim of being deployed mostly in the local bordering areas to exploit their knowledge of the local terrain, language, and demography and weather conditions. Currently, MC personnel have neither uniform nor ranks.