China’s expansionist measures can be countered by a dual approach of rapid access to the northern and northeastern borders for the Indian armed forces, and by an effort to integrate the people there into the nation, the author explains and wildlife travel photographer Mahendra Singh.

A true blue Lucknowite and the recently published book by the former student of Collège La Martinière Finding Shangri La – Visions of Ladakh and Spiti delves deeply into the myriad physical and cultural aspects of this unique corner of our country and provides a comprehensive picture of the land and its people. That he was able to document the area using photographs and well documented texts is not the interesting part, but that he was able to do so as a senior official in the Indian Revenue Service. He retired a few months ago.

“In recent times, Chinese aggression has rekindled our border disputes with China and placed Ladakh and Spiti (also known as Little Tibet) at the center of national attention. Like the Atal tunnel in Rohtang which now allows movement in all weathers, similar work is underway on the Srinagar-Leh segment to allow rapid access of the armed forces to Ladakh to face potential threats at our borders. ”Singh said.

Some segments of the vast Tibetan plateau fall within our national borders. Strongly constrained to national consciousness by the Chinese aggression, the regions of Ladakh and Spiti remain strategically important.

“With the adjacent areas becoming volatile, the resident population of these border lands have become important collaborators in the defense of the territorial integrity of the nation. Better integration of the local population with the nation is, without a doubt, the need of the moment. Efforts to integrate the traditionally linked Ladakhi people into the general population must begin with a thorough understanding of their existing environment and way of life, ”said Singh, who has given numerous presentations for students on Little Tibet.

“These people are mostly from the Tibetan genetic stock and adhere to the Tibetan culture in their way of life, their social organization, their religion and their culture. They are a robust, warm and welcoming people, made to laugh easily, ”he adds.

Singh also said it would be inappropriate to try to artificially preserve native cultures as some kind of laboratory specimens, deprived of the benefits of modern science and technology.

Giving credit to Singh’s line of thought, a recent news agency reported (ANI, October 18) that Indian army officers were studying Tibetan history, culture and language in an effort to counter the Chinese influence and deepen the existing bond between the local people. and the rest of the nation.

The first batch of the two-month Tibetology course involving culture, geopolitics, politics, demography and Buddhist philosophy began in March of this year with 15 officers from the Indian Army. The second group started in November with 20 officers, and for the third course, over 22 names had been received when this report was filed.