China reportedly recruited a squad of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters into its Tibetan border militia.
It was reported by state broadcaster CCTV that 20 MMA fighters from the Enbo Fight Club in Sichuan had formed the Plateau Resistance Tibetan Mastiffs.
This is a state backed group based in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region. The club is known for producing fighters who then go on to compete at an international level taking part in well-known competitions such as the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).
These come after clashes on June 15th, which saw soldiers from India and China fight in hand-to-hand combat. Reportedly 20 Indian soldiers died, and an undisclosed number of Chinese troops were also killed.
It was not clear if the Tibetan Mastiffs would be deployed to the border with India but their main mission would be to help border patrol troops and special forces in hand-to-hand combat training, according to a Tencent News report.
“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,” club owner En Bo was quoted as saying.
Other militia recruits included civilian personnel specialising in communications technology, mountaineering and mining, the official military newspaper, The PLA Daily, reported.
The incident on June 15th in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and at least 76 injured in the Galwan Valley was “entirely the responsibility of India”, a spokesman for China’s defence ministry said during a press conference.
“This incident took place solely due to India breaking the consensus [between the two sides] and its unilateral provocation … [it] took place on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control, he said, referring to the demarcation line at the China-India border. The responsibility is on India entirely.”
“On the night of June 15, one unit of Indian border troops blatantly violated the consensus reached between the two sides, and once again crossed over the Line of Actual Control to provoke the Chinese side, breaking their earlier promises,” Wu said. “While Chinese soldiers approached to negotiate, they were suddenly violently attacked by the Indian soldiers. This started the violent clashes among the soldiers from both sides and resulted in casualties.”
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian dismissed as “fake news” Indian media reports which claimed 40 Chinese soldiers had been killed.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- India Deploys 4,000 More Troops Along Border With China
- Indian Troops Allowed To Use Firearms In Border Standoff With China: Reports