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Learning Chinese now compulsory for Indian border police's new recruits

(CNTV)    15:46, August 31, 2017

The Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which guards India's border with China, has decided that new recruits must have a relatively good understanding of the Chinese language – both Mandarin and Tibetan dialects, following the Donglang standoff, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.

“This year onward, learning of the language has been made part of the one-year training course for recruits,” a senior ITBP officer said.

Currently, there are 90,000 Indian soldiers patrolling the India-China border, among whom only about 150 officers know Chinese. Even though this small group of soldiers studied the language before, they can “barely speak 10 sentences,” the officer said.

Most of the soldiers took the Chinese language course during mid-career training programs held at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

ITBP has already employed 12 teachers at their training academy in northern India's Mussoorie to provide refresher courses and tests for the Indian soldiers. Following the new language training, it is expected for the guards to know 50 to 60 sentences and be able to proficiently interact with their Chinese counterparts.

In addition to Mandarin, the trainees also need to learn how to speak Tibetan, as many China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers speak the dialect as well.

The move is aimed at helping the Indian military have a good command of Chinese for the sake of avoiding misunderstandings with PLA soldiers, similar to the stone-pelting incident between the two sides' border troops near Pangong Lake on August 15.

In February, India’s Eastern Command reportedly set up a Chinese language training laboratory at Panagarh to impart Chinese language training to its soldiers deployed along The Line of Actual Control (LAC). The new establishment trains 125 students annually. 

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(Web editor: Du Xiaofei, Bianji)

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