'If by chance there is a face-off, at least they can convey their message,' union home minister Rajnath Singh explained. Photograph:( Reuters )
Indian Army jawans are learning Chinese.
That "secret" was let out by union home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.
Singh said the jawans were learning Chinese so as to be able to communicate with their counterparts across the border.
"If by chance there is a face-off, at least they can convey their message," ANI quoted him as saying.
Singh added that the Chinese language lessons were a part of basic training.
Indian and Chinese troops had recently faced off from each other on the Doklam plateau for 72 days.
The standoff had been sparked off by Chinese road-building activity in the region.
Doklam lies close to the trijunction where Bhutan, China, and India meet.
The area is held by Bhutan but China lays claim to it.
Bhutanese soldiers had tried to push back the Chinese troop when they noticed the road-building activity.
When they were unable to, they asked Indian troops for help -- leading to the protracted standoff.
The Chinese and Indian troops finally stood down a few days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for the BRICS summit in China; the BRICS charter says the annual summit cannot go ahead should even one of the leaders of the BRICS nations -- Brazil, Russian, India, China, South Africa -- not attend.