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China raises new militias of Tibetan youth

China’s military has raised new militias of Tibetan youths in the strategic Chumbi Valley in Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) as part of efforts to enroll more Tibetans amid the standoff with India on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), people familiar with the development said. 

At least two batches of Tibetans have been recruited for the militias, each batch comprises about 100 youths. One batch has completed its training with the People Liberation Army (PLA) and has been posted at different areas across Chumbi Valley, including Yadong, Cheema, Richengang, or Renqinggang, PB Thang, and Phari, the people said. 

The second batch is being trained at a PLA facility in Phari, the people said, citing intelligence reports and communications intercepts from different security agencies. The militias currently operate without uniforms or ranks; the people added. 

“The militias are being raised with the aim of being deployed mostly in local border areas to exploit their knowledge of the local terrain, language, demography, and weather conditions,” one of the people cited above said. 

Indian security agencies are closely observing this development given the strategic location of Chumbi Valley, located between Bhutan in the east and Sikkim in the west. The security agencies have also learned that Tibetans recruited into the PLA’s Special Tibetan Army Unit are taken to Buddhist monks for their blessings after completing their training. 

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