Mandarin made a must for ITBP recruits
The Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which guards the 3,488 km-long India-China border, has decided to teach the Chinese language - both Mandarin and the version of the language that is spoken in Tibet for new recruits following Doklam standoff.
"We are a force fully deployed on the border with China. It is only prudent that every personnel should know the language. We interact with Chinese soldiers almost on a daily basis. A good knowledge of their language may help avoid misunderstandings and lead to better resolution of confrontations that arise out of ground zero developments," a senior ITBP officer was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.
At present, only about 150 officers and men in the 90,000-strong force know the language. Most of these officers learnt it during mid-career training programmes held at Army training academies or at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
"This year onward, learning of the language has been made part of the one-year training course for recruits," said a senior ITBP officer.
For the purpose, ITBP has recruited 12 teachers at its training academy in Mussoorie. The recruits will have to pass tests in the language before they are deployed.
ITBP believes that a verbal communication has a more impact and helps in defusing tension. With communication skills, at least fist-fights and stone-pelting, as witnessed recently in Pangong Tso, can be avoided. It will also help in building relations at the ground level.