His Holiness Dalai Lama with Tibetans brothers & Sisters in the Indian Army

China’s military has stepped up efforts to recruit more Tibetans amid the dragging border standoff with India on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), holding special recruitment drives across Tibet Autonomous Region since the beginning of the year, people familiar with developments said.

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officials have criss-crossed the Tibet Autonomous Region to hold recruitment drives and to pick up Tibetan recruits who were already at PLA camps, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

There are also reports the PLA intends to create a Special Tibetan Army Unit, the people said, citing intelligence reports and communications intercepts from three separate intelligence agencies. If this were to go ahead, this would be the first PLA formation comprising soldiers from a specific ethnicity, the people added.

PLA officials from Lhasa visited Rudok town in Ngari Prefecture in the far west of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in the third week of February to recruit Tibetans as soldiers, according to an intelligence report. These officials later travelled to Zanda or Tsamda County, one of the border counties of TAR to select Tibetan recruits from several PLA camps for possible induction into the special unit, the report said.