New Delhi: China has recruited a squad of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters into its border militia ranks, months into its escalated stand-off with India, and nearly two weeks after the hand-to-hand clash in Galwan Valley that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Twenty MMA fighters from the Enbo Fight Club in the country’s Sichuan province have been enlisted to form the ‘Plateau Resistance Tibetan Mastiffs’, to be based in Lhasa, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
The Enbo Fight Club has produced some of the country’s finest MMA fighters, who go on to compete in international tournaments such as the American UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).
The primary objective of the ‘Tibetan Mastiffs’ would be to help border patrol troops and special forces in hand-to-hand combat training. However, it isn’t clear yet if the ‘Tibetan Mastiffs’ would be deployed on the borders with India, even though according to some reports, China reinforced its troops near the Indian border with the martial arts fighters as well as mountain climbers shortly before the Galwan clash.
“If the country needs us, the Enbo Fight Club will wholeheartedly complete more challenging tasks. As for whether [our fighters] took part in the conflict a few days ago, don’t ask me, I didn’t ask,” an owner of the club was quoted as saying.
Wang Haijiang, a lieutenant general of the People’s Liberation Army, reportedly said the Enbo Fight Club recruits would “greatly raise the organisation and mobilisation strength of troops”, as well as their “rapid response and support ability”.
India and China have been involved in a border standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since early May, which escalated into a hand-to-hand combat in Galwan Valley on the night of 15 June. The Chinese allegedly used crude weapons, resulting in the first deaths at the LAC in 45 years.
Multiple Indian soldiers were also taken captive by the Chinese side, but were released last week following talks between the two sides.
India and China have been in talks regularly since then, at the military and diplomatic levels, where de-escalation is being discussed.
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