DESPITE the five-point India-China agreement for defusing border tensions, China has put the ball in India’s court and said it was crucial for New Delhi to correct its “mistake”, disengage on the ground, and take tangible steps to reduce tensions.
There were other reports of change in tactics by the PLA when they belted-out Punjabi numbers to soften up the Indian troops into dropping their guard in a fiercely contested conflict.
Besides the Punjabi numbers, the Chinese loudspeakers also highlighted in chaste Hindi about the hopelessness of being stationed at these punishing heights in winter season on the whims and fancies of Indian politicians sitting comfortably in New Delhi.
The whole scheme of Chinese PLA troops is to pull down the spirit of Indian soldiers and create anxiety among the troops that they do not always get hot steaming meals and logistics. A snowy winter also lies ahead.
According to a former Indian Army chief, the PLA used the same loudspeaker tactics in 1962 clashes as well during the 1967 Nathu La conflict. “But the Indian troops were foxed about the Punjabi songs on Finger 4. Maybe, the PLA thought that troops from Punjab were holding on to the higher heights of Finger 4 feature,” said the former army chief to HT.
According to experts talking to the EurAsian Times, the Chinese could have ended up playing the Punjabi songs for the Tibetan-origin Special Frontier Force (who barely understand Hindi and would have no knowledge of Punjabi) and the impact could have been hilarious.
Earlier, according to Chinese analysts, the Special Frontier Force (SFF), numbered at most 1,000, was far from being “elite” and was only used by the Indian army as cannon fodder in the border clash against China, reported Chinese state mouthpiece, Global Times.
On the night of August 29, SFF was used to carry out the operation in eastern Ladakh. Reportedly, one member of the force, Nyima Tenzin, died during the confrontation and one member sustained critical injuries.
BJP leader Ram Madhav attended the funeral of Nyima Tenzin. “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 written in a tweet which was later deleted.
“Presence of BJP leader Ram Madhav at the SFF commando’s funeral is a mark of respect by the BJP for the contributions of the officer and the SSF, in fact, the highest contribution possible in the battle with China in Chushul,” said Ranade.
“The recognition is a clear message to China that your countrymen are fighting alongside us,” said Ranade talking to Bloomberg. “I don’t remember this force being acknowledged like this earlier.”
After the failed uprising in 1959 in Tibet, Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India as the Chinese troops crushed the uprising. A Tibetan government in exile was set up in Dharamshala.
However, in 2003, India recognized Tibet as a part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China. Tibetans have been resisting the Chinese occupation for decades. The movement has now been rekindled after this bloody clash that killed one soldier.
SFF was formed in the aftermath of the 1962 Indo-Sino war. Thousands of exiled Tibetans were recruited (now it has a mixture of Tibetans and Gorkhas). The elite force is used to conduct covert operations.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China firmly opposes any country providing convenience in any form for the “Tibet secessionist” forces’ separatist activities.
“The Indians are sending a message — a very strong message, which they probably have not sent for decades,” said Robbie Barnett, who headed Columbia University’s Modern Tibetan Studies Program until 2018 and has written about the region since the 1980s.
“The involvement of exiled Tibetans and the use of exiled Tibetan icons, images and flags, is hugely significant for China’s interpretation,” reported Bloomberg.
Building frustration of China is visible with Global Times reports warning New Delhi that “playing the Tibet card” will “only make its own situation worse”.
If India openly plays the card of “Tibet secessionism” and launches an all-round confrontation with China, China has many countermeasures to make India feel the pain. After all, China is protecting its legitimate sovereign interests, which all countries would strive to protect at any cost, said a report in the tabloid.
Top: Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers guard a highway leading towards Leh, bordering China, in Gagangir . Photo: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP and published by Al Jazeera