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Language Across Border: China's PLA Looks to Recruit Fresh Grads as Hindi Interpreters, Suggest Intel Reports

The Tibet Military District is responsible for the lower half of the LAC such as areas bordering India’s northeastern states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. (Image: News18)

The Tibet Military District is responsible for the lower half of the LAC such as areas bordering India’s northeastern states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. (Image: News18)

Indian Army soldiers posted along the LAC are also being trained in Tibetology to further better their intelligence acquisition and carry out influence operations for the region’s population

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is looking to recruit fresh graduates from different universities of China as Hindi interpreters, possibly as part of its intelligence gathering efforts and interception jobs at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at the Tibet Autonomous Region, latest intelligence inputs have suggested.

As per the inputs, the Tibet Military District under the Western Theatre Command is planning the recruitment drive by June this year.

The PLA’s Western Theatre Command oversees China’s borders with India.

The Tibet Military District is responsible for the lower half of the LAC such as areas bordering India’s northeastern states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The Xinjiang Military District, also under the Western Theatre Command, looks at the upper half of the LAC, including areas bordering Ladakh.

The intelligence inputs suggest that personnel of the Tibet Military District visited several colleges and universities of China in the past two months to deliver lectures on the scope of career for Hindi interpreters in the PLA.

Intelligence inputs over the past several months had suggested that the PLA was actively recruiting Tibetans who can speak Hindi for its camps along India’s northern borders. There were also inputs about the PLA increasingly training its troops in Hindi for gathering intelligence and other jobs.

As reported earlier by News18, the Indian Army soldiers posted along the LAC are being trained in Tibetology to further better their intelligence acquisition and carry out influence operations tailored to the region’s population.

ALSO READ | LAC Dispatch: Indian Soldiers Along China Border Get Tibetology Training to Aid Soft Power, Intel Gathering

The courses are conducted in collaboration with institutions such as the Central Institute of Himalayan Cultural Studies (CIHCS).

Earlier this month, the Trishakti Corps of the Indian Army under its Eastern Command tweeted about successfully conducting a Tibetology course for a batch of Indian Army officers with the caption: “Language is the road map to culture…”

Since May 2020, India continues to be in a military standoff with China at the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

PLA’S FOCUS: RECRUITING TIBETANS

Multiple intelligence reports since last year have indicated the PLA’s active push to recruit Tibetans into the force as regular troops or in militia units through different recruitment drives in varying numbers.

One intelligence input mid last year indicated that the PLA had begun recruitment of unemployed Tibetans across the Sikkim border to form a “volunteer militia”.

A subsequent intelligence report suggested that the PLA had enrolled around 1,500 Tibetans in a compulsory hiring project from Yatung County, Chumbi Valley, opposite Sikkim, by August last year and their one-year-long training had begun by September 2021 in Nagqu in Tibet.

A separate input last year suggested that after this lot of enrollment, the PLA began another compulsory recruitment drive from August last year to recruit an additional 400 Tibetans in Chumbi Valley, in line with the PLA’s plans to ensure that those recruited from Phari Dzong and Yatung will undergo a year-long training at Lhasa.

There were no immediate details available on their deployment.

ALSO READ | China Refuses to Leave Hot Springs and Gogra, Steps up Drive to Recruit Tibetans: Reports

Another report from last year suggested that the PLA recruited around 3,000 Tibetans from poor families as “regular troops” in the Kham and Tibet Autonomous Region. As per the report, some of them could also be posted in the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF), the reports suggested.

In December last year, one intelligence report had indicated PLA was conducting publicity campaigns for a special recruitment drive to enroll Tibetans, in several areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region such as Gonjo County, Nyingchi Prefecture, Shigatse Prefecture, among others.

However, a subsequent report stated that despite the special recruitment drive, the response was not encouraging.

The report suggested that there were around 7,000 active Tibetan military personnel in PLA, of which around 1,000 Tibetans, including about 100 females, were enrolled in Special Tibetan Army Units. However, after their training, the report stated, they were deployed in the five militia units in Rutog, Yatung and other areas in the Tibet region in small teams.

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