Amid the ongoing border conflict with China, India is now looking to ‘counter Beijing’s propoganda’ through Tibetology.
According a report in the Times of India, the Army is making a proposal for officers to study Tibetan history, on both sides of the LAC and international boundary. This will be to “counter propoganda and spread of influence” by China, sources told TOI.
The proposal was first initiated in the Army commanders’ conference in October. The Shimla-based Army Training Command (ARTRAC) is now further analysing the proposal on General MM Naravane’s directions.
Seven institutes which offer postgraduate courses in Tibetology have been identified by the ARTRAC. Army officers can complete their course here by going on study leave, and can also be sent for smaller courses here.
The Department of Buddhist Studies in Delhi University; Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi; Nava Nalanda Mahavihara in Bihar; Visva Bharati in West Bengal; Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education in Bengaluru; Namgyal Institute of Tibetology in Gangtok; and the Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies in Arunchal Pradesh, are the institutes identified for the purpose.
The source told TOI that the Army needed to build its expertise on both China and Tibet in terms of “linguistic, cultural and behaviour patterns”, and that this would require language and sector specialisations with some officers posted at the LAC for a longer tenure instead of the western front with Pakistan.
He added that “just a two-year course on Mandarin” would not make an officer a China expert.
After the Galwan Valley clash between Indian and PLA forces last year, subsequent talks have failed to end the stalemate on the border. The latest corps commander level talks between India and China had not led to any agreement for disengagement from the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, but officials had told News18 that both sides have agreed in principle to withdraw troops after a nine-month standoff.
However, there is the lack of consensus on the withdrawal mechanism. While India is insisting on simultaneous withdrawal, the Chinese want India to first disengage from southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh.