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Home / World / Dalai Lama trapped between a rock and a hard place as India and China re-start ties

Dalai Lama trapped between a rock and a hard place as India and China re-start ties

This is the question that many are asking themselves after the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the spiritual leader in India have been postponed or canceled, as Beijing and New Delhi want to re-establish relations after a tense year in bilateral relations ,

From March 31, Tibetans in India are holding a one-year "Thank You India" event as a prelude to the Dalai Lama's celebration and gratitude to the Indian government and its people for their support of Tibetan refugees

But what was meant to be a moment of joy was overshadowed by a flood of speculation about the future of the Tibetan exile community – and especially the freedom they had enjoyed in India since the late 1


"It looks like the Indian government is changing its policies," said Claude Apri, a Tibet-based Tibet expert and author of several books on Tibetan issues.

Following an unsuccessful revolt against the Chinese occupation of Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, secretly fled the capital, Lhasa.

He crossed India on March 31, 1959, and has since made India his home.

India, a living, god-like personality for millions of Buddhists, officially calls it "the most respected and honored guest in India." China accuses him of being a "wolf in a monk's robe", "pursuing anti-Chinese separatist activities under the guise of religion with the aim of breaking Tibet away from China"

& # 39; very sensitive & # 39;

In early March, news came that the Indian Foreign Minister had written a secret piece of advice asking leading politicians and government officials to attend events planned by exiled Tibetans in India.

The news said the March and April events had come at a "very sensitive time in relation to India's relations with China."

A week later, the Tibetan Central Administration – the government-in-exile – decided to relocate a major cultural event, originally scheduled to take place in the Indian capital of New Delhi, to the Dharamsala, where the exile community is based, with a speech by the Dalai Lama Has.

An inter-religious prayer ceremony led by the Dalai Lama was also scrapped, the Tibetan Central Administration said, as was the Seventh World Parliamentary Convention for Tibet to be held in Delhi from April 26 to 28 The Tibetan Parliament in exile, the organizers of the congress, rejected it ceases to give a reason for the cancellation of the high-profile event.

Sonam Dagpo, a spokesman for the Tibetan Central Administration, said that there had been no direct communication from the Indian authorities and that the plans regarding the position of the Indian government had been changed.

"As soon as we heard about the note, we decided to relocate the venue," he said. "There are no bad feelings, and if you weigh what the Indian government has done for us, that's far more than that."

The Indian Foreign Ministry issued a statement this month that India's position is not changing "His Holiness is granted the freedom to carry out his religious activities in India."

According to the latest information from the government-in-exile more than 128,000 Tibetans live outside their home country. Of these, 94,000 live in India, around three quarters of the total. Another 10.6% live in Nepal and the rest are located in more than 30 countries around the world.

Since 1974, the Dalai Lama has stated that he does not seek Tibetan independence from Tibet, but a "meaningful autonomy" that would allow Tibet to preserve its culture and heritage.

India claims that Tibetans in India "do not conduct political activities from Indian soil."

Dance, not a fight

Recent statements from Beijing and Delhi show that the two governments after a turbulent year in bilateral relations try to improve their relationships.

Last year, troops from both countries in Doklam, in the Himalayas near Bhutan, were involved in border disputes for months. India boycotted China's flagship summit in Beijing last May with its Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious global trade plan.
The Dalai Lama's April visit to the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh – an area claimed by China – also triggered diplomatic tensions between Beijing and New Delhi.

At a press conference last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the two country leaders had "developed a strategic vision for the future of our relationship: the Chinese" dragon "and the Indian" elephant "should not fight each other but each other dance."

India's Foreign Minister Vijay Gokhale visited Beijing in February, where he said both sides stressed the need to "address differences based on mutual respect and sensitivity to each other's concerns, interests and aspirations".

Manoj Joshi, Observer Research Foundation Fellow, The United States strives to keep relations in balance with each other, especially if China is closer to rival Pakistan come.

"Relations are in a troubled place, with India trying to back down a bit and repair fences that have been broken in the last two years," he told CNN.

He added that China is also striving for progress as it does not want to "drive India back into the American camp."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet on the sidelines of Shanghai Summit of the Organization of Cooperation in June

  Dalai Lama: China worried about future Dalai Lamas as I

The Tibetans could be the big losers if India and China were to make things right, said Tshering Chonzom Bhutia, Associate Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi.

"If political leaders in India continue to believe that supporting the Tibet issue on the diplomatic path to China is the most efficient way to improve relations between India and China, we can put more restrictions on Tibetan Expect activities in India, "she said.

Against the background of China's growing dominance in India's neighboring countries, Tibet poses a small problem for Delhi, said Tsering Shakya, a Tibet scholar and research teacher at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

"India is feeling Tibet's appeal in the West is declining," Shakya said, releasing Delhi to yield to Beijing's feelings about the matter.

  Tibet: tensions on the roof of the world


Adding to this uncertainty is confusion what happens after the death of the Dalai Lama.

In 2011, in an effort to democratize the government system, the Dalai Lama abandoned his political and administrative powers and decided to remain only a spiritual leader, but he is still by far the most influential figure in the community.

The 82-year-old recently decided to shorten his journey for age and exhaustion. It remains unclear who the next Dalai Lama will be, how this person will be selected, or whether there will be another Dalai Lama.

If the current Dalai Lama dies, the Tibetans will be in a state of disorder, said Phunchok Stobdan, a former Indian diplomat and senior executive at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis in New Delhi, although he emphasized that India would continue to support the Tibetan refugees for humanitarian reasons.

"India will do that because India is a democratic country, separate from the political side," he said.

  opinion: No more Dalai Llamas? Not so fast

But many Tibetans in India are worried about their future in the country when the most influential figure in their community is no longer there to speak out for them.

What matters most is ultimately geopolitics.

"How the Tibetan political problem will erupt in the period after the Dalai Lama's departure depends to a large extent on the bilateral dynamics of India and China, as well as the regional and global situation," Bhutia said.

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