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Indian Army personnel near LAC are studying about Tibetans; and there is a valid reason

Buddhist experts and Lamas from monasteries are teaching Indian Army personnel. Asianet Newsable's Anish Kumar, who travelled to the frontlines of the Line of Actual Control, reports from West Kameng.

Indian Army personnel near China border are studying about Tibetans VPN
West Kameng, First Published Oct 18, 2021, 9:06 PM IST
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Aiming to counter China's soft power approach and enhance bonhomie between Tibetans and the troops deployed in the forward areas in Arunachal Pradesh, the Indian Army has formally started a course on Tibetan language and culture to understand their history, demography, philosophy among others. Two months ago, the Chinese administration had urged the Tibetans to embrace communist rule. 

Chinese Communist Party politburo's standing committee made the remark during a lavish ceremony marking the 70th year of the Chinese invasion of Tibet in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa -- the sacred home of Tibet's traditional Buddhist leaders. Started as a pilot project in March this year, a total of 15 Indian Army personnel underwent stringent examinations.

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After having successfully completed the course, the Indian Army and Arunachal Pradesh-based Central Institute for Himalayan Culture Studies and Sikkim-based Namgyal Institute of Tibetology signed a Memorandum of Understanding to get the personnel trained in the language. The intent behind the move to enable the troops to reach out to Tibetans living in India. The second batch of the course, which lasts six to eight weeks, will commence from November. A total of 20 officers have voluntarily enrolled themselves for the course. 

"Buddhist experts and Lamas from the monasteries are conducting the course," an official said.  Talking about the syllabus, CIHCS Dy Director Kemo Padu said, "We have included history, culture, philosophy, politics, demography and geopolitics into our curriculum."

Sharing his experience, an Indian Army officer who had completed the first batch, said, "I was unaware of the Tibetan language and culture. But after undergoing the course, it has given me a fresh perspective to understand the Tibetans." As per an official, the Indian Army has sent a proposal to its training command to increase the duration of the course to three months. 

Explaining the aim of the course, another Indian Army officer said, "It is to make our personnel understand the nuances of the culture and arm them with the language so that they can amalgamate with the Tibetan population residing on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control." This will wean the population away from China's soft power, he said. 

The Indian Army personnel are also learning mandarin (Chinese language) at different institutes in the country. The Army has a collaboration with Tezpur University for its troops to learn the Chinese language.

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