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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Associate the Dalai Lama with Revived Nalanda University

August 23, 2010

by B.Raman
Sri Lanka Guardian
August 22, 2010

Chennai -- China is reported to have conveyed to
the Government of India through diplomatic
channels its unhappiness over a courtesy call
made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh at New Delhi on August
11,2010. It is not known how the Chinese came to
know of this courtesy call since it was not
publicised by the Government of India. The
Government-controlled media in China has not yet reported about this.

2. After the publication by sections of the
Indian media on August 19 about the meeting and
the Chinese protest, Kalon Tenpa Tsering, the
Tibetan leader’s representative in New Delhi,
confirmed the meeting between the two leaders, in
an interview to the Voice of Tibet Radio.

3. This is not the first time the Chinese had
protested over a courtesy call by His Holiness on
an Indian Prime Minister. Mr.Li Peng, the then
Chinese Prime Minister, had protested to
Mr.Narasimha Rao, the then Indian Prime Minister,
in the early 1990s on the same subject. In that
case, Mr.Rao himself had taken the initiative to
inform Mr.Li Peng beforehand of the proposed
courtesy call by His Holiness. Despite this,
Mr.Li Peng objected to the meeting.

4. There is no need for us to be defensive or
apologetic about meetings between HIs Holiness
and senior Indian leaders and officials----
either for courtesy purposes or for discussing
the problems of the Tibetans in India and
elswhere. His Holiness has been an honoured guest
of the Govt. of India and has the right to meet
anybody he wants. There is no need to keep these
meetings a secret. Similarly, the Prime Minister
and other Indian personalities should not
hesitate to return the courtesy calls of His Holiness.

5. Apart from being the leader of the Tibetan
people all over the world, including those in
China, His Holiness is also an important and
highly respected leader of Buddhists all over the
world. It is unfortunate that in misplaced
deference to the sensitivities of China and
Singapore, the Government of India has chosen not
to associate His Holiness with the proposed joint
project with Singapore for the revival of the
fifth century Nalanda University. How can there
be any project for the revival of the University
without His Holiness being associated with it as
a guide, adviser and well-wisher? The historic
links between India and Tibet should be an
important subject in its curriculum. If Singapore
is not prepared to be associated with the project
if His Holiness is to be associated with it, so
be it. We should not allow China or Singapore to dictate to us in this matter .

6. China has ignored our sensitivities and core
interests relating to Jammu & Kashmir,
Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Why should we pay attention to its sensitivities
in matters relating to His Holiness and his
Tibetan people? Our recognition of Tibet as a
part of China should not mean our silence on all
matters relating to His Holiness and the Tibetan
people. This has to be made clear through appropriate actions and policies.

* The writer is Additional Secretary (retd),
Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi,
and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical
Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai
Centre For China Studies. E-mail:
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