China Resorts to Genetic Research on Tibetans to Nullify PLA's Disadvantage Against Indian Troops

China Resorts to Genetic Research on Tibetans to Nullify PLA's Disadvantage Against Indian Troops

China has opened the world’s largest “plateau human genetic resources biological sample bank” in the Tibet region to improve the medical research and health support capabilities on the plateau. According to a report, published in the state-owned Global Times, experts, including the medical team of the People’s Liberation Army, have completed a large-scale field study on around 120,000 Tibetans over 15 years.

“Plateau diseases have high incidence and could be fatal, but the current technical means to treat it have been limited. Such sufficient biological support will contribute to the study of altitude sickness in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau”, Jin Jun, a professor from the Department of Cardiology, Xinqiao Hospital, was quoted as saying by the Global Times.

Indian analysts believe that gene mapping is a complex science and is in the nascent stage of development, but China seems to be making rapid strides in the collection of vast data that could be analysed using supercomputing machines and artificial intelligence.

“However, the Chinese focus on gene mapping in Uighur and Tibet, which are traditionally non-Han populated, needs to be carefully followed up as this could be a non-consensual path for genetic modifications. The outcomes could take years if not decades”, Rahul Bhonsle, security analyst and former Indian Army brigadier, told Sputnik.

“Involvement of the PLA in this programme also gives another dimension of ‘genetically modified soldiers’. There are preliminary indications that the Chinese scientists and the PLA could be at least conceptually open to this concept”, Bhonsle added.

Bhonsle underscored that the results could be complex and lethal, but at present this appears to be more in the realm of science fiction, but needs a diligent follow-up.

During war-like deployments along the loosely demarcated Line of Actual Control, various media reports suggested that the PLA faces many challenges at the high-altitude terrain of Ladakh.

Locally garrisoned Indian soldiers, especially the Ladakh Scouts, are more acclimatised to the harsh terrain than the PLA troops, as China depends on reinforcements stationed far from the border, another analyst pointed.

“Long presence in such high altitude is not something that the Chinese troops can sustain, hence the need to build upon their physical capacity. I believe all such biological experiments are directed toward that desired end state”, explained Ret. Colonel Jaibans Singh.

Earlier this year, a report published on a Chinese military website said that the PLA has divided military training for new recruits in three stages namely – “adapt to the plateau”, “fit for the plateau”, and “applicable to the plateau”. China has allocated nearly $29 billion for Tibet in its 14th Five Year plan, indicating a massive transformation in the civil and military infrastructure in the region.


CC BY 2.0 / reurinkjan / Snow Mountain Landscape of Tibet

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