Capability Building

To overcome language barrier, ITBP officers will now learn Chinese

Younis Ahmad Kaloo

Security is an ever-changing landscape which demands that security agencies, too, adapt to this diversification and strengthen their capacity both at training level as well by equipping themselves with modern weapons and equipments. However, this time, one of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) has decided to equip its soldiers with a different weapon altogether - the weapon of language.

ITBP personnel during training

Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), post the 70-day standoff in Doklam which saw Indian armed forces and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China coming face to face, has now decided to teach Chinese language to its recruits. This is to overcome the language barrier for the soldiers stationed along Sino-Indian border.

With two inspectors and as many soldiers having already completed the course and who are currently posted at the borders, around 25 soldiers and officials of the ITBP will pursue a one-year certificate course at the Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies in Madhya Pradesh’s Raisen district.

According to the university registrar, Rajesh Gupta, the course will be helpful for the border-guarding force, which has to deal with the Chinese-speaking people along the border.

“Our course is designed as per the needs of the ITBP. Besides learning the Chinese language, the course also provides them an insight into Buddhism,” the registrar said. He further said the course will also help the ITBP personnel in communicating with the followers of Buddhism residing in the Sino-India border region.

In India, the Chinese-speaking followers of Buddhism live in several villages along the border in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

As of now, course books are available in Hindi, English and Chinese, which allows the students to comprehend easily. The books in these three languages have same pictures and sentences.

The Sanchi University, which according to the registrar is the only varsity in central India where Chinese language is being taught to the ITBP personnel, started the Chinese language certificate course from the 2016-17 academic session, and will soon start an advanced course in the same language. In the ongoing session (2017-18), the institute has also started a diploma course for those who have already completed the certificate course. Delhi and Tezpur University in Assam also have courses in the Chinese language for ITBP soldiers and officials, he said.

After Doklam standoff, in addition to the inclusion of the new weapon (of language) in ITBP’s armoury, the force was further bolstered by the country’s primary communication satellite to track activities along the Himalayan border in late 2017.

ITBP supervises the feeds from GSAT-6, Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) geostationary communication satellite that keeps an eye on the entire country. The force was designated as the nodal agency for obtaining and channelising the communication satellite.

The satellite allows ITBP to track the information and alert the government and security agencies if it notices anything suspicious or untoward along the nearly 3,500km border with China.

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