New Delhi: China has launched a “compulsory recruitment drive” for locals in Chumbi Valley between Sikkim and Bhutan as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) solders from the mainland are unable to deal with the harsh winter situation.
Intelligence reports have flagged that one youngster from each house will be recruited in the PLA.
Chumbi Valley is a 100 km dagger-shaped salient that lies between Sikkim and Bhutan. From the Chumbi Valley dagger point, Bangladesh is around 100 km and in between India has the strategically Siliguri Corridor.
This gives China an upper hand to choke India’s vital lines of transportation and communication running through the Siliguri Corridor to the Northeast region.
The Siliguri Corridor is a stretch of land bordering Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, measuring approximately 170×60 km and at the narrowest, it is about 20-22 km.
“So any development in the region is highly important to India,” said a senior government official, adding that locals joining the PLA is a rare phenomenon.
But with compulsory recruitment, China is making its presence felt, the official explained.
These recruits are taken to the PLA training facility at Nakchu in the Tibet Autonomous Region, said a source, adding that the training curriculum includes physical training, drill and maintenance of the accommodation and training areas.
“The new recruits are reportedly being paid 1,700 yuan as monthly stipend,” said the official.
These new recruits in PLA are divided into batches which are further divided into groups of 30 trainees each.
Among the trainers and instructors at the training centre, majority are from mainland China and a few from Tibet, who are helping with language translation.
The trainees are allowed to make only one short duration phone call to their family members back home from their mobile phones deposited in the training centre.
Not only that, it has been found that China has started building an alternative axis in the Chumbi Valley, closer to the Siliguri Corridor.
And adding to it recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a three-step roadmap between Bhutan and China for boundary resolution was singed.