According to recent intelligence inputs, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is looking to hire fresh graduates from various Chinese universities as Hindi interpreters, possibly as part of its intelligence-gathering efforts and interception jobs at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tibet Autonomous Region. As per reports, the Tibet Military District, part of the Western Theatre Command, is planning a recruiting drive for June of this year.
The PLA’s Western Theatre Command is in charge of China’s borders with India. The Tibet Military District is in charge of the lower part of the LAC, which includes territories bordering India’s northeastern states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. The Xinjiang Military District, which is also part of the Western Theatre Command, is responsible for the upper half of the LAC, including territories bordering Ladakh. According to intelligence reports, officers from the Tibet Military District have visited many Chinese colleges and universities in the last two months to provide lectures on the opportunities for Hindi interpreters in the PLA.
In recent months, intelligence assessments have shown that the PLA is actively recruiting Tibetans who can speak Hindi for its camps around India’s northern frontiers. There have also been claims that the PLA is gradually training its troops in Hindi for intelligence gathering and other objectives. As previously reported by News18, Indian Army officers stationed along the LAC are being trained in Tibetology in order to strengthen their intelligence collection and conduct influence operations aimed at the people of the region.
The classes are taught in partnership with organizations such as the Central Institute of Himalayan Cultural Studies (CIHCS). Earlier this month, the Indian Army’s Trishakti Corps, part of the Eastern Command, tweeted about successfully delivering a Tibetology course for a group of Indian Army officers, with the description ‘Language is the road map to culture…’ Since May 2020, India has been locked in a military stalemate with China along the Ladakh-Aladakh border in eastern Ladakh.
PLA’S PRIMARY GOAL: RECRUITING TIBETANS
Since last year, many intelligence assessments have highlighted the PLA’s aggressive endeavor to recruit Tibetans into the army as regular troops or militia units through various recruiting campaigns with changing numbers. Mid-last year, the information suggested that the PLA had begun recruiting jobless Tibetans over the Sikkim border to join a ‘volunteer militia’. According to a subsequent intelligence assessment, the PLA had recruited around 1,500 Tibetans in a forced hiring initiative from Yatung County, Chumbi Valley, opposite Sikkim, by August of last year, and their one-year training had commenced by September 2021 in Nagqu, Tibet.
By a separate report from last year, the PLA began another compulsory recruitment drive in 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 was no immediate information on their deployment available. According to a different source, the PLA recruited over 3,000 Tibetans from disadvantaged families as ‘regular troops’ in the Kham and Tibet Autonomous Region. As per the sources, some of them may be sent to the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF).
According to one intelligence assessment from December of last year, the PLA was running advertising campaigns for a special recruitment drive to enlist Tibetans in numerous parts of the Tibet Autonomous Region, including Gonjo County, Nyingchi Prefecture, and Shigatse Prefecture, among others. However, despite the particular recruitment effort, the reaction was not encouraging, according to a subsequent study.
According to the report, there were around 7,000 active Tibetan military troops in the PLA, with approximately 1,000 Tibetans, including approximately 100 ladies, enlisted in Special Tibetan Army Units. However, the report indicated that following their training, they were deployed in small teams in the five militia groups in Rutog, Yatung, and other regions of the Tibet region.