Indian Army soldiers posted along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are being taught all about Tibet — from its culture, language and history to the Buddhist philosophy followed by its sparse population, a move that would add muscle to India’s soft power and help devise informed military strategies for the region.
As per a senior Army officer, better understanding of the region would help make intelligence gathering easier and also help in carrying out other influence operations tailored to the region’s population.
A new course in Tibetology, in collaboration with the Central Institute of Himalayan Cultural Studies (CIHCS), Dahung in Arunachal Pradesh had its first batch with 15 participants between March and May this year as a pilot project. A second course is scheduled for November.
Set up in Dahung near Arunachal Pradesh’s Tenga by the Union Ministry of Culture in 2003, the CIHCS was operating under the aegis of the Buddhist Culture Preservation Society, Bomdi La. The institute at present conducts basic as well as PhD courses on Tibetan language and culture.
The course is aimed at educating Army personnel about Tibet’s demography and internal dynamics, its history, geography, language, and art and culture through classes, guest lectures as well as movies and book reviews.
“Understanding Tibetan population, their traditions, cultural peculiarities and the political influence in the region empowers our officers to understand what we are getting into and where we are operating,” a senior Army officer said while interacting with reporters here.
As per senior officials, the Army’s Training Command has identified seven other institutes for Tibetology in India.
While this training has been taking place for some time, it is only now that it has been formalised. Two courses per year have been planned with 15-20 participants in each course. In the last course, lamas who are expert in Tibetan issues were invited from the Bomdi La monastery to impart the course.
News18.com also learnt that that longer courses of up to three months have been proposed and are under consideration at present.
So far, around 150 officers have been trained across various centres. The idea is to create a sizeable number of Army personnel with understanding of Tibetan issues, an officer said.