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Home / World / The secret Tibetan military force increases its stakes in the India-China clash

The secret Tibetan military force increases its stakes in the India-China clash



Indian troops pay tribute to their fallen comrade, Tibetan Special Forces soldier Nyima Tenzin, in Leh on 7 September.

Photographer: Mohd Arhaan Archer / AFP via Getty Images

At a funeral last week in the mountains of northern India, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top aides respected a Tibetan soldier killed on the front lines of deadly clashes with China.

Surrounded by troops waving the flags of India and Tibet, Ram Madhav laid a wreath in front of the coffin during a ceremony that paid military honors to the deceased. In a now-deleted tweet, Modi̵

7;s ruling national secretary general, the Bharatiya Janata party, said he hoped the soldier’s death would lead to peace along the “Indo-Tibetan border”.

The rare recognition of a secret Indian military unit with Tibetan soldiers by itself threatened to heat up a border dispute that has killed dozens since May and closed economic ties between the world’s most populous nations. Even more significant was the suggestion that India questioned China’s sovereignty over Tibet, a red line for Beijing, which sees separatism as a cause that is also worth fighting in places from Xinjiang to Hong Kong and Taiwan. .

“Indians send a message: a very strong message, which they probably haven’t sent for decades,” said Robbie Barnett, who led Columbia University’s Modern Tibetan Studies Program until 2018 and wrote about the region since the 1980s. “The participation of exiled Tibetans and the use of exiled Tibetan icons, images and flags are enormously significant for China’s interpretation.”

High voltages

While the foreign ministers of India and China agreed on the need for moderation during a meeting in Moscow last week, tensions along the border remain higher than at any time since they resumed. the hostilities. Both sides continue to increase forces in the disputed area, which is key to controlling the vital Himalayan mountain passes, with warning shots this month along the actual control line for the first time in more than four decades. .

In recent weeks, China has moved fighter jets and heavy bombers to the Indian border from the Central Theater Command, Beijing’s strategic reserve, which was not done even when the two sides went to war in 1962, according to India’s defense officials. you don’t have to identify yourself because of the rules for talking to the media. China’s defense ministry did not answer questions by fax.

While neither country has incentives to go to war, the growing intensity and persistence of friction could cause them to run into them, according to Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Eurasia group last week increased the likelihood that border skirmishes could lead to a more sustained military conflict of up to 15%.

“An advertising or involuntary incident at a local flash point could now really fuel a broader conflict than either government wants,” said Narang, who wrote a book on regional nuclear powers ’deterrence strategies.

Dalai Lama

Tibet, an area about the size of South Africa that stretches across the Himalayas, has been a point of controversy in India’s relations with China since the Dalai Lama fled to the southern nation. Asian after a failed insurrection in 1959. He established a government — exiled to the northern Indian city of Dharamshala, to the displeasure of Beijing. Only in India recognized Tibet as part of China in 2003.




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