WHY IS INDIA’S TERRITORIAL ARMY RECRUITING CHINESE INTERPRETERS?

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The Indian Army’s notification for the recruitment of Mandarin interpreters has come amid the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) efforts to recruit Hindi interpreters, possibly as part of its intelligence gathering efforts and interception jobs at the Tibet Autonomous Region

The Indian Army is looking to recruit interpreters of Chinese languages in the Territorial Army (TA). The Army issued a notification on Sunday, inviting applications for six interpreters, of which five would be civilian candidates and one an ex-service officer.

The new hires would be aged between 18 and 42. According to a report, with this the Army is expanding its strategic outlook towards the northern borders from its traditional focus on China.

What Is The Territorial Army?

According to the Indian Army’s website, the Territorial Army is part of the regular Army and its present role is to relieve the regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where life of the communities is affected or the security of the country is threatened and to provide units for regulars Army as and when required.

Presently the Territorial Army has a strength of about 40,000 persons comprising of departmental TA units such as Railway, IOC, ONGC, Telecommunication and General Hospital and the non Departmental TA units of Infantry Bn (TA) and Ecological Bn (TA) affiliated to various Infantry Regiments.

The TA units were actively involved in 1962, 1965 and 1971 operations. Also known as “the Terriers”, the TA units have also taken part in OP-PAWAN in Sri Lanka, OP Rakshak in Punjab and J&K, OP Rhino and OP Bajrang in the North East.

Why Is The TA Hiring Language Experts?

The Indian Army’s notification for the recruitment of Mandarin interpreters has come amid the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) efforts to recruit Hindi interpreters, possibly as part of its intelligence gathering efforts and interception jobs at the Tibet Autonomous Region.

In May this year, intelligence inputs had suggested that the Hindi interpreters would be recruited from among fresh graduates from different universities of China.

Even as the Army has been making special efforts to train its soldiers in Mandarin the past few years, it is the first time that interpreters of Chinese languages are being recruited into the TA.

As per defence sources, the Army currently has a significant pool of Mandarin-qualified personnel drawn from all ranks.

The Army is focusing on a larger canvas of northern culture as soldiers posted along the LAC are also being trained in Tibetology, which includes Tibet’s culture, language and history and the Buddhist philosophy that guides the region’s sparse population.

The Army is also using artificial intelligence-based solutions for translation of various scripts or literature.

What Is The Army’s Latest Move?

As per sources in the Army, the force had recently got the approvals to induct Mandarin-trained personnel into the Territorial Army.

As per the notification issued on Sunday, the basic qualification required is graduation in Chinese language with minimum 55 per cent marks from a recognised university or graduation in any subject with a two-year diploma in Mandarin from a recognised university.

Sources said that with the “recalibration of the Army’s strategic outlook towards the Northern borders,” the force has upscaled its Chinese languages training and language experts form a critical part of its overall strategy.

The Army has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with the Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU), Central University of Gujarat (CUG), Shiv Nadar University (SNU) to provide Mandarin proficiency to its personnel.

“In-house efforts include increasing the vacancies at the Army’s Training School at Pachmarhi and the Delhi-based School of Foreign Languages. Proficiency-level testing of trained soldiers is being conducted through civilian institutes such as the Delhi-based Langma School of Languages to assess competencies of linguists as per international standards,” the source quoted above said.

Several courses in Mandarin are also being run at the Language Schools at the Northern, Eastern and Central Command.

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