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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."

India's Tibet ambiguity

November 28, 2008

C. Raja Mohan
The India Express
November 27, 2008

One of the iron laws of Sino-Indian relations is beginning to assert
itself again. When there is relative tranquility in Tibet, India and
China have reasonably good relations. When Sino-Tibetan tensions
rise, India's relationship with China heads south. The current
restiveness in Tibet and the collapse of the talks between the exiled
Tibetan leadership and Beijing are likely to squeeze New Delhi harder
in the coming months.

At a recent conclave of Tibetans from around the world in
Dharamshala, the Dalai Lama has once again characterised India's
policy as "excessively cautious." Normally not the one to point a
finger at his hosts, the Dalai Lama, is imploring a more engaged
policy from India on Tibet.Meanwhile the Chinese officials
continually remind New Delhi about its promise not to allow Tibetans
to conduct anti-China activities in India.  New Delhi, of course,
says the Dalai Lama is a revered spiritual leader who does not
indulge in political activities on Indian soil.

The South Block could walk this fine line over the last two decades,
because the Dalai Lama adopted the "Middle Path" and called for
"autonomy" rather than independence. Although it should be relieved
that the Dalai Lama reaffirmed his commitment to the "Middle Path" at
the recent conclave of Tibetan activists in Dharamshala, New Delhi is
aware that Tibetan moderation might have run its course. As Tibetans
get frustrated at the lack of progress in the talks with Beijing,
they might soon have no choice but embark on more vigorous forms of
protest against China.

As India gets caught in this crossfire, its domestic political
divisions on Tibet are also likely to get sharper. "Doing nothing" on
Tibet may no longer be a policy option for New Delhi.
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