Tibetology Course: Using a new weapon, Indian army personnel are going to conquer Tibet without obliterating the enemy. The personnel trained hard for violent and blot-thirsty battles will now be trained in soft skills to capture the heart of Tibetans and nullify China in the region.
Tibetology- A new weapon to weed out Chinese presence
Soldiers and officers serving along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are being given special training under which they are learning all about Tibet. The course called ‘Tibetology’ encompasses training of culture, language, history along with Buddhist philosophy being followed in Tibet. The Tibetology course is aimed towards making soldiers efficient in handling intelligence operations in Tibet, ultimately leading to better strategies.
In its present form, the total duration of the Tibetology course is two weeks. However, the government is planning to extend the duration of the course to 3 months. The course is biennial in nature and will train Indian defence personnel through movies, literature, and book reviews. Additionally, they will also be visiting monasteries and villages to have an on-the-ground understanding of their course. The course will also include Lamas (Tibetan spiritual gurus) imparting their knowledge to the Indian army.
Informal course being formalised now
According to the reports, the first batch of 15 officers and five men took the course from March to June this year, while the second batch will commence from November. The training has been going on for quite some time now, but the decision to formalise it has been taken this year only. A total of 150 soldiers have undergone Tibetology courses running in the country. To promote the course, Army is also planning to link promotions and posting with the successful completion of the course.
Emphasising the need for the course, a senior army officer told reporters, “Understanding Tibetan population, their traditions, cultural peculiarities and the political influence in the region empowers our officers to understand what we are getting into and where we are operating,”
Army has roped in the Central Institute of Himalayan Cultural Studies (CIHCS), Dahung, Arunachal Pradesh for the collaborated effort. CIHCS was established in 2003 by the Union ministry of culture under the aegis of the Buddhist Culture Preservation Society, Bomdi la. The institute mainly runs courses on Tibetan culture.
China irked by the India-Tibet camaraderie
Meanwhile, the Tibetology course has irked the Chinese establishment. Global Times, the Chinese Communist party’s mouthpiece, has criticised the move. Quoting Qian Feng, Director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, the news portal issued a warning to India. Indirectly calling the Tibetology course a provocative action, Qian pointed out that the situation on the border is under Chinese control and India should refrain from using provocative action.
India and China have a 70-year long history of differences over Tibet. While China considers Tibet to be a part of its own territory, India supports Tibet’s government-in-exile under Dalai Lama. India has given refuge to Dalai Lama, who is also the spiritual head of Tibetans.
Galwan, China and Special frontier force
In its effort to impose its geopolitical hegemony on its neighbours, China started to double down on its claims on Tibet after 2013. On the other hand, it also nullified Prime Minister Modi’s attempts to have a stable relationship with itself. The Chinese became aggressive on the Indian border, which ultimately led to the Galwan border clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers. India’s valiant rebuttal to Chinese unsolicited aggression was underlined by the Tibetan-dominated Special frontier force (SFF) in the region. Being fully aware of the local terrains and already accustomed to the environment, it was SFF which pushed China back into its safe zone.
Modi government does not believe in placating China
This clash changed India’s approach towards Tibetan issues. Various senior officials including Prime Minister Narendra Modi crossed the Chinese diplomatic line and treated Tibet and China as separate countries.
Not just bilaterally, India made multilateral efforts to challenge Chinese aggression in the region. While India was strategically challenging China on the Tibet issue by sending additional 50,000 troops to the border, Japan, a long-time Indian ally challenged the Chinese claim on Taiwan. Japan in fact went a step further and called for the US’s involvement in the Taiwan issue.
Modern warfare is fought more on the diplomatic tables and less on the actual battlefield. Although the diplomatic tables are guided by battlefield advances, it would be a great strategy if a generation of army personnel is expert in winning both hearts and battles. Along with SFF’s expertise in handling any physical confrontation with PLA, the intermixing of Tibetans with Indians will be one of the finest strategic wins over China.