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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Seminar on Indo-China relations vis-a-vis Tibet gets rousing response

August 11, 2008

By Email
By Tenzin Pema Chashar
Phayul
August 10, 2008

Bangalore, Aug 10 -- A seminar on 'Indo-China relations vis-a-vis
Tibet,' organised by the South Zone Tibetan Settlements Solidarity
Committee, received a rousing response from the nearly 300
participants that included both Indians and Tibetans. The seminar,
which was held in St. Joseph's College of Commerce, brought to the
fore important issues concerning the two great Asian powers, China
and India, as well as the implications that their relationship has on
Tibet and on the future of the Tibetan people.

The participants included Indian residents of Bangalore, ABVP,
students from National Law School and other colleges, as well as
Tibetans studying and working in the city.

The eminent speakers at the seminar included Shri A.P. Venkateswaran,
former Foreign Secretary of the Government of India, Dr. U.R.
Ananthamurthy, Jnanpeeth awardee, Dr. P.A. Mathew, Professor of
Economics at Christ College, and Mrs. Dolma Gyari, Deputy Speaker of
the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. All four shed light on the changing
relationship between India, China and Tibet, as well as on India's
policies on Tibet, while laying special emphasis on trade relations
between the two Asian giants and likely impact on Tibet from this.

Mr. Venkateswaran, during his speech, traced the history that saw
Tibetans -- till then a part of an independent nation -- suddenly
powerless, with their leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama forced to
seek refuge in India for his people. He lay emphasis on the fact that
the Dalai Lama chose the path of non-violence, propagating all that
the great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi stood for, even as
Venkateswaran spelt out the key differences between India's Gandhi
and China's Mao-Tse-Tung . Gandhi and Mao differed in that one chose
the path of non-violence whilst the other chose violence as a means
to gain freedom for their land, Venkateswaran said.

The former Foreign Secretary warned that China was making a huge
mistake if her government was awaiting the period after the Dalai
Lama, saying he believed that at such a time, the Tibetan people may
adopt a more radical approach.

Another speaker who brought to light the importance of Tibet in the
context of not only India but of the world, was Mr. Ananthamurthy. At
a time "...when everything is destroyed in the name of globalisation,
we need the Tibetan wisdom, Tibetan culture and the Tibetan way of
life," he said. The academic also added that Tibet's future was
especially important to India as the former had preserved much of
India's great texts of historical and spiritual value.

Ananthamurthy drew loud applause from the audience when he proclaimed
"I want Tibet to be free," while stressing on the need for a plural
society in the midst of globalization, where the whole world runs the
risk of eating, drinking and wearing the same things.

Dr. Mathew also agreed, but cited the shift in the economic
relationship between India and China and the impact that this has on
Tibet. He negated the view that China was a communist nation, adding
that China lost this status when Deng Xiao-ping said, "It doesn't
matter if the cat is white or black, as long as it catches the mice."
China was instead a "market economy," that was choosing to blur its
political issues with many nations for the convergence of interest in
trade, since they were aware that for economics to function, peace
and the right environment was needed.

Mathew painted a somewhat gloomy picture when he spoke about the kind
of people that were deciding the issues that would or would not be
discussed; these people included company heads who have their own
interests at stake, politicians, investors and the like. He, however,
cited his observation that Tibetans were forever "hopeful that Tibet
will be free," and said "hope" was a crucial quality that Tibetans
had and that this was indeed very necessary.

Mrs. Dolma also spoke about this quality of "hope," but she dwelled
on the "hope" that India seemed to have on China each time she wants
the other to solve a problem. She felt India was too "trusting"
towards her neighbour, China, who Dolma said could not be trusted.

On India's policy on Tibet, Dolma said the government, contrary to
their oft-stated quote that theirs was a consistent policy on Tibet,
had never had a consistent policy on Tibet. She cited the Indian
government's ever-changing policy on Tibet since the time India
gained independence till date. The Deputy Speaker "hoped" the Indian
government would work towards a more long-lasting solution to the
Tibetan issue, which in the end would be beneficial to India as well
as to South Asia, she said, citing China's growing misuse of Tibet's
pristine environment and her many water bodies for China's benefits.

A member from the audience, who had recently visited Tibet, seconded
Dolma's view, while other Indians gathered at the seminar pledged
their support for the Tibetan people and urged others in the city to
actively raise their voice in protest against the growing suppression
within occupied Tibet.

Dolma also urged the Indians gathered to spread awareness about the
Tibetan issue among their own community, which she said would help
bring about a "people's mass movement" in the country. The Deputy
Speaker profusely thanked India for all that India had done for the
Tibetans till date, while also thanking the South Zone Solidarity
Committee for organizing such an important event that brought
together Indians and Tibetans.

"The aim of holding today's seminar was to reach out to Indian
academics, scholars and youngsters. And I felt that we had a lot of
students from law and journalism colleges, for whom the subject was
very relevant. So based on the interaction we had from them, and the
kind of interest they showed, I certainly feel that the event was a
success," Mrs. Tsering Youdon, Chairperson of the South Zone Tibetan
Solidarity Committee, said.

Ms. Youdon, also a Member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, added
that based on the success of today's event, the committee would
seriously consider holding more such events to spread awareness among
the Indian community.

The Tibetan Solidarity Committee is an initiative by the Tibetan
Government-in-Exile, started after the recent crisis that sprung in
Tibet following the March 10 protests.
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