The last rites of Indian Army soldier Nyima Tenzin were conducted with full state honours on Monday. Tenzin came from the Choglamsar Tibetan refugee settlement outside Leh and was killed in an accidental mine blast in Ladakh. His funeral was attended by politicians from the ruling BJP.
Three months ago, India mourned the death of 20 soldiers, who were killed in a violent face-off with Chinese troops in the Galwan valley on the night of 15-16 June. Many Indians paid tributes and respects to the dead men but no political leaders attended the funerals of any of the soldiers who gave their lives in the line of duty.
But on Monday, Bharatiya Janata Party’s general secretary Ram Madhav and BJP parliamentarian from Ladakh Jamgyal Tsering Namgyal attended the funeral of a Tibetan soldier who served in a secretive Indian army unit.
While disengagement efforts in Ladakh are underway via military and diplomatic channels, the attendance of a leader from India’s ruling party at the funeral is seen as a signal to Beijing that New Delhi is weaponising its foreign policy, analysts believe.
However, a professor of Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi Srikanth Kondhapalli played down the significance of the funeral, noting that Tenzin was a company commander, which explains the attendance of an Indian government official and the covering of his body in the flags of Indian and Tibet.