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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Panelists expect India to become more vocal on Tibet

December 24, 2009

Phayul [Sunday, December 20, 2009 20:53]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, December 20: Speakers on a panel discussion on ?Future of
Tibet in the Emerging World? here today suggested India to be
diplomatically more vocal on the issue of Tibet, saying a free Tibet
alone is in the best interest of India.

Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, Prof. Samdhong
Rinpoche, presided over as the Chief speaker of the panel discussion
that was jointly organised by United Nations Policy-making and
Management Institute, Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre
(TPPRC) and Bharat Tibet Sahyog Manch (BTSM), an Indian Tibet support group.

Other key speakers included Dr Chaman Lal Gupta, Chairman of the
Himachal Pradesh State Education Board; Dr Kuldip Chand Agnihotri,
National President of BTSM; Dolma Gyari, Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan
Parliament-in-Exile; Professor Swami Buddhanand and Dr Narindar Awasthi,
Principal Government College, Dharamsala. The talk was attended by,
among others, officials from the Tibetan exile government, local Indian
dignitaries and representatives from Tibetan NGOs.

Calling Tibet an occupied country under Chinese rule, Prof. Buddhanand,
in his introductory talk, said China solely relies on force to suppress
Tibetan people?s non-violent struggle for justice.

?Tibet issue is not solved because one side (China) is using force and
the other (Tibetan) side is seeking justice,? he said.

?The only way to solve problem is to come to a negotiating table... But
China is using force to suppress Tibetan people?s voice,? he adds.

According to him, the use of force by China is not sufficient enough to
decide the fate of Tibet and its people. "In the long run, the need for
justice alone will decide and shape the destiny of Tibet,? he said.

For Dr Gupta, also a BJP legislator, a free Tibet is in India's national
interest and the only way to provide genuine border security and
stability in India. ?Threat in Tibet is a threat to India,? he said.

?When we talk about the future of Tibet, we are also talking about the
future of India at the same time,? Gupta said.

He insisted India should stop thinking that appeasing China and ignoring
the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and Tibet issue will pave a way for a
lasting peace in India.

?Without freeing Tibet there never will be real peace in India. History
is a witness that China has always been an aggressive imperialist
nation,? he said.

Dr Agnihotri, on the other hand, says Ahimsa is the biggest strength of
Tibetan people in their struggle for truth and freedom, and cautions
Tibetans from losing patience in the face of provocation from China.
According to him, Tibetan people?s non-violent resistance is the biggest
threat to China, despite all its power.

?Even after 60 years China has no confidence about its rule over Tibet.
This is one reason why China keeps asserting to the outside world saying
?Tibet is a Part of China? and wants world leaders to publicly state the
same even after all these years,? he said.

To India, Dr Agnihotri, a longtime advocate of Tibetan freedom,
suggested to be diplomatically more vocal on Tibet.

?India should also be able to tell Chinese leaders not to visit the
disputed land of Tibet,? he said drawing attention to recent Chinese
objections to Indian leaders on their visit to the Northeast Indian
state of Arunchal Pradesh.

?China forcefully claims its control over Tibet, but Tibetans know that
it was an independent country. So to the outside world Tibet is still a
deputed land," he said. "When China can call Arunchal Pradesh a disputed
territory and asks Indian leaders not to visit there, India must also be
diplomatically ready to tell Chinese leaders not to visit the disputed
land of Tibet until Tibet issue is resolved amicably,? Agnihotri said.

In his key note address, Prof. Rinpoche said that India has maintained a
consistent stance on Tibet over the years. ?Government of India has
never stated that Tibet is a part of China so far,? the Tibetan Prime
Minister said.

?In the past India said that 'Tibet is an autonomous region of China',
later it put it that 'Tibet is an autonomous region of the People?s
Republic of China'. The latest one, stated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee
(former Indian prime minister) during his visit to China was that
?Tibetan Autonomous Region is a territorial part of the People?s
Republic of China?. And the Indian government still treads on the same
stated position on Tibet,? Rinpoche said.

All these expressions, Rinpoche said, should be read in entirety, and
not in parts.

?Even President Obama during his visit to China last month said that US
is recognizing ?Tibet as a part of the People?s Republic of China?, but
he did not say 'part of China',? Rinpoche added.

Rinpoche said that in the present context it was wrong to construe
?People?s Republic of China? and ?China? as being one and the same
thing, both from the "political and diplomatic point of view."
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