After military tensions with India last year, the Chinese military realized that its soldiers were unable to stand up to Ladakhi or Tibetan soldiers joining the Indian Army. Soldiers from far-off places of China are finding it very difficult to live and work in the high areas of Ladakh and Tibet.
The ongoing border dispute with India since May 2020, the bloody skirmish in Galwan and the Indian Army’s capture of the Kailash range in eastern Ladakh in the first week of September have forced the Chinese army to change its thinking. 70 years after the occupation of Tibet, now the Chinese are recruiting Tibetans into their army.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed the first set of troops of the newly raised Tibetan unit, the Special Tibetan Army Unit (STAU), in the strategically important Chumbi Valley between Sikkim and Bhutan.
PLA’s Recruitment Drive in Tibet
The Tibetans who are recruited in the Special Tibetan Army Unit (STAU) (a new unit recently raised purely of troops from Tibetan ethnicity by PLA) are taken to Tibetan Monks after completion of their training for their blessings.
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.