At a funeral in the mountains of northern India last week, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi̵
Rad Madhav (Rad Madhav) was surrounded by troops waving Indian and Tibetan flags and laid a wreath on the coffin at the ceremony, giving the deceased all military honors. In a now-deleted tweet, the national secretary-general of Modi’s Baladia Janata Party said that he hopes the death of the soldier will lead to peace on the “India-Tibet border”.
The rare recognition of secret Indian military units and Tibetan soldiers threatens the escalation of a border dispute that has killed dozens of people since May and disrupted economic ties between the world’s most populous countries . An even more meaningful suggestion is that India questioned China’s sovereignty over Tibet-Beijing’s red line. Beijing believes that separatism is a reason, and it is worth fighting for in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other places.
“The Indians are sending a message-a very strong message that they may not have sent in decades.” said Robbie Barnett, the head of Columbia University’s Modern Tibetan Studies Program until 2018. He has been writing articles about the region since the 1980s. “The participation of exiled Tibetans and the use of exiled Tibetan icons, images and flags are of great significance to the interpretation of China.”
At a meeting in Moscow last week, the foreign ministers of India and China agreed on the need for restraint, but since the resumption of hostilities, tensions on the border remain higher than at any time. The two sides continue to increase troops in disputed areas, which is the key to controlling the important Himalaya pass. This month, warning shots have been fired along the line of actual control for more than two decades.
According to Indian defense officials, in the past few weeks, China has moved fighters and heavy bombers from Beijing’s Strategic Reserve Central Theater Command to the Indian border, even though the two sides did not do so during the war in 1962. Not recognized due to the rules of talking to the media. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense did not respond to fax questions.
Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that although the two countries have no incentive to wage war, the intensification and persistence of friction may cause them to fall into conflict. The Eurasian Group proposed last week The probability that border conflicts may lead to longer-lasting military conflicts reaches 15%.
Naran said: “The accidental or unintentional incident that occurred at a local flashpoint may now indeed contribute to a wider conflict that neither government wants,” Naran wrote. He wrote a book on the deterrence strategy of regional nuclear powers.
Since the Dalai Lama fled to South Asian countries after the failed rebellion in 1959, Tibet has been a point of contention in India’s relations with China. Tibet is roughly the size of South Africa, straddling the Himalayas. Exile in Dharamshala, a town in northern India, made Beijing very unhappy. India only In 2003, Tibet was recognized as part of China.
Jayadeva Ranade, a member of the advisory board of the National Security Council, said that after the outbreak of the India-China War in 1962, India established for the first time a Tibetan refugee military unit called the “Special Border Force” to carry out operations in the rear of China. Covert operation. Similar to the US special forces, each member has received commando training and operated secretly with the Indian military.
Larnard, head of the China Analysis and Strategic Research Center of the New Delhi Research Group, said: “The recognition of China is a clear message that your compatriots are fighting with us.” “I don’t remember that this power was recognized earlier. “
The Indian defense official, who asked not to be named, said that special border forces participated in a night raid last month to seize the strategic commanding heights and stay on the front line.
Nevertheless, both India and China are trying to downplay the importance of Tibetan soldiers.
Colonel Aman Anand, spokesman for the Indian Army, declined to answer questions about the unit, but said the military is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility, while protecting the integrity and sovereignty of the country at all costs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.
China’s reports on Tibetans are understated, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Monday to ask India about this.
He said: “China’s position is clear.” “We are firmly opposed to any country assisting the separatist activities of the’Tibet independence’ forces in any way.”
While the government avoided intensifying the situation, Chinese state media released footage of live ammunition exercises conducted in Tibet in the past week, including tanks, fighter jets and even drones. These weapons may soon begin to provide soldiers with food during the long winter.
The coffin of the dead Tibetan soldier Nima Tenzin was covered with Indian and Tibetan flags. The participating BJP official Madhav understood this meaning: he wrote a book on conflicts published in 2014 called “Uneasy Neighbors: India and China 50 Years After War”. Madhav did not immediately respond to a request for comment to delete his tweet.
According to Gonpo Dhundup, chairman of the Tibetan Youth Congress, even though the Indian government has not officially recognized the Tibetan army, Tenzin’s public funeral and Madhav’s attendance have aroused support for the organization and the Tibetan community in exile. More than 30,000 members and fight for freedom in the region.
“I’m determined feel Dundup said on the phone from McLeod Ganj outside Dharamshala. “Acknowledgements, no matter how brief, send a message that our contribution will be recognized.”
—With the assistance of Colum Murphy and Jing Jing
(Update with new pictures after paragraph 11)