The Indian Army and BJP leader Ram Madhav on Monday paid tribute to the deceased Special Frontier Force (SFF) Company leader Nyima Tenzin, who was killed near the shores of the Pangong Tso in Ladakh as Indian and Chinese forces came close to direct confrontation in the area at the end of August.
Madhav laid a wreath for Tenzin as he attended the funeral and paid his last repects along with hundreds of others, and met his family. The BJP leader shared pictures of the funeral in a tweet, which was later deleted. The visit is seen as an attempt by the government to create a larger pro-India solidarity with Tibetans amid the tensions with China.
"Attended the funeral of SFF Coy Ldr Nyima Tenzin, a Tibetan who laid down his life protecting our borders in Ladakh, and laid a wreath as a tribute. Let the sacrifices of such valiant soldiers bring peace along the Indo-Tibetan border. That will be the real tribute to all martyrs," Madhav had said in the now-deleted tweet.
India and China are engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas in eastern Ladakh, including the finger area near Pangong lake, Galwan valley, Hot springs and Kongrung Nala.
The situation worsened last month as Indian and Chinese forces came close to direct confrontation in the area. The exact circumstances leading to the death of Nyima Tenzin are unknown, much like the mysterious regiment itself.
The top-secret guerrilla regiment, also known as Establishment 22 (read as two-two), was raised by the Nehru govt in 1962, during the war with China. The SFF was drawn out of ethnic Tibetans who have an axe to grind against the Chinese. The first recruits were some of the guards who had fled Tibet along with the Dalai Lama.
The issue of China’s repression of the Tibetans has been figuring much more regularly recently, particularly in US statements of late, and both US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and and his deputy Stephen Biegun underlined the issue in their statements and tagged it along with the Chinese aggression at the Line of Actual Control.
Observers have said that China’s actions in the LAC can be tagged alongside its aggression in Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong as well as the South China Sea and be morphed into an effective fulcrum for international efforts to put pressure on Beijing to mend its ways.