As the India-China border standoff continues to deepen the strife between the two countries, new reports of a secretive unit of the Indian Armed Forces, the Special Frontier Force (SFF) have emerged, as the media starts to explore the lore behind this unit – which even the Army officers are reluctant to talk about.
While the presence of this unit at the frontlines of Ladakh is being confirmed by news agencies, however, Chinese government mouthpiece Global Times states that the exiled Tibetans are being used as ‘cannon fodder’ by the Indian Army.
“Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Friday that the Indian Army deployed the unit of exiled Tibetans to conduct the preemptive actions, but according to Indian media, the action resulted in one death and injuries to another commander, which fully reflects Indian forces’ insufficient preparations,” reports Global Times.
The SFF was first formed with the support of the United States in the 1960s to become a covert operations unit to conduct clandestine missions into the People’s Republic of China.
According to Feng, the SFF’s importance has declined significantly in the Indian Army and it no longer plays an important role. The number of the unit has also dramatically reduced, and at present, the unit has at most 1,000 offspring of the exiled Tibetans.
Global Times also claims that the Indian army does not trust foreign soldiers, thus most of the ethnic Tibetans had very low status in the military. Becoming a member of the unit was only their means to make a living.
After a Reuters correspondent asked Chinese foreign ministry representative Hua Chunying to remark on it at Wednesday’s media briefing, Hua said we solidly contradict any nation giving accommodation in any form to the “Tibet secessionist” powers’ rebel exercises.
The Chinese state-run media house also warned India that it cannot match the PLA’s prowess and is shooting at its own foot. “China’s economic power and military strength are much greater than India’s,” it concluded.