NEW DELHI: China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed the first set of troops of newly raised Tibetan unit, Special Tibetan Army Unit (STAU), in the strategically important Chumbi Valley between Sikkim and Bhutan.“The PLA has deployed a new set of militia, which is known as Mimang Cheton (MC), in the Chumbi Valley under Yatung County in Tibetan Autonomous Region,” said a source. The MC consists of local Tibetan youths recruited and trained by the PLA.
“Two batches of MC, each comprising about 100 youths, have been recruited, with the first 100 having completed their training and currently deployed at various locations in Chumbi Valley viz Yutung, Cheema, Rinchengang, PB Thang and Phari,” the source said. The second batch is currently undergoing training at Phari.
The PLA raised the STAU keeping the locals’ adaptability, knowledge of the language and awareness of weather conditions and general terrain, with altitude ranging between 11,000 ft towards Arunachal Pradesh and nearly 18,000 ft close to Karakoram in Ladakh. It wants to exploit the locals’ familiarity with the area to its advantage by deploying these troops mostly in the bordering areas, the source said.
Currently the unit personnel have neither uniform nor ranks. The troops of the new unit, after completing their training, are taken to Tibetan monks for their blessings. China being a communist nation, there has no such previous practice. “This is possibly a new strategy of PLA to get some mileage in Tibet region.”
Knowledge of local language, weather
PLA raised STAU keeping the locals’ adaptability, knowledge of the language and awareness of weather conditions and general terrain, with altitude ranging between 11,000 ft towards Arunachal and nearly 18,000 ft close to Karakoram in Ladakh