Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ World https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Secret Tibetan military forces raise efforts in clashes between India and China

Secret Tibetan military forces raise efforts in clashes between India and China



Indian troops respect their fallen comrade, the 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 Modi̵

7;s biggest aides paid respect to a Tibetan soldier killed on the front lines by deadly clashes with China.

Surrounded by troops waving both India and Tibet, Ram Madhav laid a wreath in front of the coffin during a ceremony giving the deceased man full military honors. In a now deleted tweet, the national secretary general of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party said he hoped the soldier’s death would lead to peace along the “Indo-Tibetan border.”

The rare recognition of a secretive Indian military unit with Tibetan soldiers in itself threatened to escalate a border conflict that has killed dozens since May and fueled economic ties between the world’s most populous nations. Even more striking was the proposal that India question China’s sovereignty over Tibet – a red line for Beijing, which sees separatism as a cause that is also worth fighting for places from Xinjiang to Hong Kong to Taiwan.

“The Indians are sending a message – a very strong message that they probably have not sent in decades,” said Robbie Barnett, who led Columbia University’s program of modern Tibetan studies until 2018 and has been writing about the region since the 1980s. “The involvement of exiled Tibetans and the use of exiled Tibetan icons, images and flags is very important for China’s interpretation.”

Tensions high

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

In the last few weeks, China moved fighters 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 Indian defense officials who asked not to be identified due to of rules for talking to the media. China’s Ministry of Defense did not answer faxed questions.

While none of the countries have an incentive to go to war, the increasing intensity and persistence of friction can cause them to stumble into one, according to Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eurasia Group traveled last week the probability that border crossings could lead to a more persistent military conflict to 15%.

“An announcing or unintentional incident at a local hotspot could now really create a broader conflict that none of the governments wants,” said Narang, who wrote a book on the deterrence strategies of regional nuclear powers.

Dalai Lama

Tibet, an area roughly the size of South Africa that stretches across the Himalayas, has been a point of contention in India’s relations with China ever since the Dalai Lama fled to the South Asian nation after a failed uprising in 1959. He set up a government in exile in the northern Indian city of Dharamshala, much to the displeasure of Beijing. India only recognized Tibet as part of China in 2003.




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