Sending a strong message to China, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav attended the funeral Monday of Subedar Nyima Tenzin of the Special Frontier Force, a covert Indian unit, comprising mostly of Tibetans in India, tasked to carry out classified missions.
Nyima died on August 30 when he, according to Army sources, stepped on a vintage mine near the south bank of Pangong Tso. This was around the time Indian forces were occupying strategic heights in areas of the Chushul sector to turn the tables on the Chinese – the PLA has been reluctant to complete the disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control.
While the government or the Army has not commented on the death of Nyima, the presence of Madhav, a senior member of the ruling party, at the funeral in Leh will rile the Chinese given that the Vikas regiments of the SFF largely comprise Tibetans in India. Raised during the 1962 war with China, the SFF remains under the Cabinet Secretariat but functions under the operational control of the Army.
Madhav placed a wreath and paid tribute to Nyima. He also posted a tweet which he deleted later. He told The Indian Express: “Let the sacrifices of such valiant soldiers bring peace along the Indo-Tibetan border. That will be the real tribute to all these martyrs.”
Retired SFF Havildar Yeshi Tenzin told The Indian Express that his 24-year-old son Londen Tenzin, also with the SFF, was seriously injured when the mine exploded, killing Nyima.
Yeshi said Londen was provided preliminary medical assistance and later moved to the military hospital in Leh.
He said his son was on a reconnaissance mission on August 29. And the next day he was with Nyima near the south bank of Pangong Tso when the incident happened.
The Army has not commented on the SFF or its role in the Chushul sector operations. Army sources said there was no direct contact or clash with the Chinese when Indian troops raced to occupy heights on August 29-30 and August 31, thwarting PLA manoeuvres in the area. The heights occupied by Indian troops are close to the south bank of the lake and Rechin La near Rezang La, south of the Spanggur Gap, giving them a commanding view of the terrain and Chinese positions.
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