Tibetans rejected by Botswana

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By: Steve Lee

In this day and age, as the world is becoming increasingly connected due to the Internet and globalization, it is economic might that now determines the politics of nations, and no longer military might as it used to be. Today’s world order sees China fast overtaking America to become the world’s leading economic power and they are not afraid to flex this muscle.

Botswana is a landlocked nation in Africa, just north of South Africa. Click to enlarge.

These days, there is not a single country that does not depend heavily on trade with China. Inevitably, thanks to their economic prowess, China is able to exert their influence over many countries, especially the smaller and poorer African states that depend heavily on foreign aid and investment. Since trade is key to their survival and prosperity of their citizens, many of these countries will do whatever is in their power to maintain bilateral relations with China.

The truth however, is that China has never really shown any interest in the internal affairs of any country. When China does take a keen interest, it is in countries who have received a state visit from His Holiness the Dalai Lama or any Tibetan leaders like Lobsang Sangay. China sees it from the perspective of national security because the Dalai Lama has in the past advocated independence of Tibet, which is part of China today.

Such independence would be tantamount to the separation of the Chinese state, which the central government has been fiercely protecting. For any nation to meet with the Dalai Lama, it would therefore be viewed as supporting instability within the Chinese nation. What nation would not be wary of this, and do their best to ensure all the factors remain in place for stability for their people? Hence, in this way, any meeting with the Tibetan leadership has the potential to jeopardize trade relations with China who, like any responsible government, will use their strengths to their advantage.

The San hunter-gatherers, a tribe of bushmen who live in an area spanning South Africa to Botswana.

In today’s world, it is not the form of government (like socialism, monarchy or democracy) that is important anymore, but it is more important to see if it works or not. China, for example, may adhere to a Marxist system that has been labelled as Communism, but for the Chinese nation it appears that this form of governance is turning out better than many so-called democracies. China is showing that not everything from the West is applicable to every nation on this planet. So people can criticize and knock China’s form of Communist government as much as they want, but it sure has worked in making them into a superpower.

It is this superpower status that every nation in the world wants to link up to and benefit from. This was made clear about Botswana in the article Dalai Lama Protégé Chickens Out of Botswana Event. It notes that “some top government officials (of Botswana) are said to be on the side of the Chinese government as they feel Botswana benefits more from China that it can ever benefit from its friendship with the Dalai Lama“. It may be glamorous to meet the Dalai Lama, and perhaps religiously and morally compelling to do so but it does virtually nothing for the nation itself.

On the other hand, maintaining ties with China may not be glamorous. It may even seem to be an unpopular choice but the truth is, fostering a relationship with China does bring economic prosperity that will trickle down to every sector of society and hence, tremendous benefit for any country.

Botswanan women in traditional church-going dress

Since all nations depend on trade in order to sustain their economies, very few states big or small will want to jeopardize this important relationship with China. Many governments around the world can relate to this sentiment. At the end of the day, a leader of any country will have to prioritize their country’s interests over other ‘peripheral’ interests like that of Tibet and the Dalai Lama. The fact is that there is no obligation for any country to abide by any particular style of governance, except for the one that benefits them. 

Botswana has a strong and varied culture that has existed for thousands of years, including unique forms of dance and art

In light of all this, the recent and very last-minute rejection of Lobsang Sangay of the so-called Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) makes sense. As the President of the CTA (Tibetan exiled leadership based in Dharamsala), this rejection is a huge slap on his face. Even Botswana, a country with a population of just over two million and a GDP equal to some billionaires’ personal incomes, now rejects the Tibetans. Such a rejection should be a wake-up call that fewer and fewer nations and people are going to support the corrupt regime of the CTA. The CTA in Dharamsala has been losing grip on their own Tibetan people’s support as well as the support of many nations around the world, who are realizing that being friends with the Tibetan government in-exile reaps no rewards because they are extremely corrupt.

Even when the CTA talks about honor, integrity, human rights and what is supposedly just, they have scandal after scandal in their day-to-day dealings. With so many scandals of their own to contend with, what tangible benefits can the CTA offer to other nations?

Botswanans have turned their backs on Lobsang Sangay and the Tibetans in favor of China

Of course, there are pockets of people around the world who are fooled by the CTA’s externally-touted ‘noble cause’ when in fact, this cause is actually abused to raise funds which they line their pockets with. This is a truth that everyone is waking up to, even as the CTA continues to cry wolf as many times as they like. The rapid decrease in support for the CTA shows clearly that in the end, every single sane government realizes a healthy relationship with China will tremendously boost their economy. This garners more votes so that these governments can stay in office. After all, politics is about money, power and votes. If you are friends with China, you get more power and you get more money, but when you are friends with the CTA, you lose votes and the voters themselves.


Dalai Lama Protégé Chickens Out
of Botswana Event

Click to enlarge (Source: http://www.thegazette.news/dalai-lama-protege-chickens-out-of-botswana-event/)

Botswana is a landlocked nation in Africa, just north of South Africa. Click to enlarge.

The Zu/’hoasi tribe in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana live in one of the most remote wildernesses in Africa

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  1. What the Tibetan leadership said is clearly seen as disrespectful and ungrateful towards the kindness shown by India for hosting the Tibetans for almost six decades now. See how upset the Indians are and what they are saying now.

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  2. Policy dive: India believes it’s time to normalise ties with China
    A school of thought believes India cannot afford a conflict; its power gap with China is too large; it is neither militarily equipped nor economically positioned to take on Beijing.
    Updated: Mar 15, 2018 08:13 IST
    Over the past month, India has made a conscious effort to recalibrate ties with China. After a year of stress in the relationship, Delhi appears to feel that it is time to get ties back on track.
    Last Friday, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters India was “willing to work with the Chinese side to develop our relations based on commonalities while dealing with differences on the basis of mutual respect and sensitivity to each other’s interests, concerns and aspirations.” He also emphasised that ties between the two were important bilaterally, but also had regional and global significance.
    On Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said that China had noted “positive remarks by the Indian side”. He had, last week, also said, “Chinese dragon and Indian elephant must not fight each other, but dance with each other. If China and India are united, one plus one will not include two, but also 11.”
    In diplomacy, statements matter – and so does context. There is definitely a degree of positive signalling on between the two countries. The statements follow foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale’s visit to China last month. A note by the FS to the cabinet secretary, and his subsequent directive, that senior political leaders and government functionaries should stay away from events to commemorate Dalai Lama’s 60th anniversary in exile became public. It was widely interpreted as a move to assuage Chinese sensitivities, since Beijing views Dalai Lama with suspicion and Tibetan activities in India as political.
    A series of high-level visits are lined up between the two countries, including visits by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is buzz about a ‘high level visit’ from China.
    The debate
    There are two broad schools of thought within the Indian foreign policy establishment, and the wider strategic community, about the reset.
    The first is those who believe this is essential. The argument goes something like this. India and China have had a turbulent time over the past few years. China’s decision to block India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG); its position on black-listing Masood Azhar in UN; India’s opposition to China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative; and its deepening strategic engagement with Washington and positions on South China Sea have all contributed to trust deficit. The standoff in Doklam was a big blow to ties. And while an accident —in terms of a larger conflict — was averted, it showed the dangers inherent in the relationship.
    India cannot afford a conflict; its power gap with China is too large; it is neither militarily equipped nor economically positioned to take on Beijing; the US — under President Trump — is not a reliable partner. And thus, while protecting core interests like in Doklam, there must be an effort to normalise ties and build trust. It does not help to make China insecure.
    The second school of thought does not want confrontation either. But it believes that any effort to reset actually smells of weakness and could well reduce India’s leverage further. They hold that recent tensions are due to Chinese assertiveness – a result of its growing power and a reflection of President Xi Jinping’s personality. China’s deepening political engagement with India’s South Asian periphery; its expansion in Pakistan; its aggression on the land borders and Doklam are all instances of this new Chinese mood, which hurt India.
    In this backdrop, any ‘appeasement’ of China will embolden it further. India thus has no choice but to hold strong to any ‘cards’ it may have, including Tibet. It must bet on deepening strategic partnership with US as well as other countries with the ability to take on China. It must qualitatively step up the Quad (an initiative of India, Japan, US, Australia). And it must not worry about Chinese reactions. If anyone, it is India which has reason to be insecure – not China. When India is seen as strong, with options, Chinese behaviour will change. At the moment, the first school is dominant. Over the year, the equations in the India China relationship will be a key foreign policy story to watch.


  3. Apart from two big Tibetan events planned in Delhi being scrapped, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) can add another disgrace to the list, this time thanks to its own people, the Tibetans.

    On Saturday 17th March, a large number of international protestors gathered near the Tibetan parliament, seeking the impeachment of Tibetan President Sangay, saying his actions are akin to those of a dictator. The protestors are from India, Nepal, Europe, and the US and the protest will go on until the session ends on March 24. Lobsang Sangay definitely made a mark in Tibetan history as he is the first President that Tibetans protested to impeach.
    Tibetan govt faces protest from Tibetans amid strained relations with India
    S Gopal Puri| TNN | Mar 17, 2018, 11:04 IST
    DHARAMSHALA: Amid worsening relations of Tibetan government in exile and India government, the former was facing protest from Tibetans itself.
    Indian government’s recent move of asking its senior leaders and dignitaries had already scrapped various Tibetan events planned in Delhi.
    On Saturday, number of protestors gathered near the Tibetan parliament protesting against Lobsang Sangay, the president of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
    These were the members of the group Truth-Seeking Volunteers holding protest against Lobsang Sangay, leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile- Sikyong, following a rift between him and former speaker of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile Penpa Tsering.
    The protesters seek the impeachment of Tibetan President Sangay for actions which, they say, are akin to those of a dictator.
    They are also seeking a reply from Sangay and his cabinet for terminating the services of Penpa Tsering, former representative of the office of Tibet in Washington from the office.
    Tsering was sacked from the office on November 7, 2017, 15 months after his appointment. It is believed that the cause of Tsering’s ouster was that he raised the issue of a $ 1.5-million loan taken from the Tibet Fund in New York to purchase a new office in Washington.
    Sangay had clarified in the parliament that $ 1.5 million was not a loan but a grant.
    Thinley Kelsang, a protester, called for Sangay’s impeachment and said he had taken many decisions without the approval of the Tibetan parliament. There were enough reasons for his impeachment, he said.
    A petition for his impeachment was submitted to members of parliament, which is holding its 10-day budget session.
    The protesters from India, Nepal, Europe, and the US gathered at the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) premises. The protest will go on until the session ends on March 24.

    Tibetan govt faces protest from Tibetans04

  4. It is understandable that national ministers refrained from attending events organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) following the leaked classified directive from the Indian Cabinet Secretary. But to have a State Minister of Himachal Pradesh (that Dharamsala falls under) skipping such an important event for the Tibetans in-exile is a clear message – India is now making ties with China, and the ‘Tibetan cause’ (Tibetan independence) is no longer useful to India. 

    Over the past few months, the Dalai Lama has made numerous statements that Tibet should remain part of China. He has been reaffirming his stance that he is not seeking independence for Tibet. Meanwhile, India is exercising a whole new approach – to make friends with China. After all, India’s national interest comes first.
    Himachal minister skips Dharamsala Tibetan function
    Shri Puri| TNN | Mar 10, 2018, 21:57 IST
    DHARAMSALA: In a major shock to the Tibetan administration in Dharamsala, state minister Kishan Kapoor, who was invited as the chief guest at the official function to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, skipped the event.
    The minister and Tibetan minister evaded the queries in this regard.
    The event was organized at Tsuglagkhang (the main temple of the Dalai Lama at Mcleodganj) on Saturday.
    It remained a low-key affair owning to the controversy due to which the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) had to cancel its ‘Thank You India’ event scheduled at Delhi on March 31 and April 1.
    The event was cancelled after the an advisory was issued from the ministry of foreign affairs asking the dignitaries to stay away from the programme
    Following the advisory, the CTA was forced to shift the event from Delhi to Dharamsala.
    It was presumed that the had its bearing on the Tibetan National Uprising day function.
    CTA had announced that the Kapoor, minister for food and civil supplies and an MLA from Dharamsala seat, would be the chief guest at the function. However, Kishan Kapoor failed to turn up. Only BJP MP George Baker was present at the event.

    Himachal minister skips Dharamsala Tibetan function

  5. In response to the cancellation of the recent ‘Thank You India’ event in Delhi, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) released a video message by His Holiness the Dalai Lama saying that the Tibetans have not been seeking independence for Tibet from China since 1974. In addition, His Holiness further reiterate the mutual benefits of reconciliation between Tibetans in exile and China.

    This statement was very offensive to Indians who were very kind enough to host the Tibetan refugees for the last 60 years. Not only did the Tibetan community contribute nothing to India, they have also been using India in order to further their own cause. Now that India is changing their stance towards China, Tibetans are quick to turn around in favor of China and India is quickly abandoned. What is apparent in this speech is that India remains an undesired place to be called home.
    We’ve not sought independence for Tibet from China since 1974: Dalai Lama
    TNN | Updated: Mar 17, 2018, 11:03 IST
    DHARAMSHALA: Days after a Tibetan event in Delhi was cancelled and shifted to Dharamshala following the Union government note to its senior leaders and government functionaries to stay away from them, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on Friday came out with a video message of the Dalai Lama, saying they have not been seeking independence for Tibet from China since 1974.
    In his video message to the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), based in Washington DC, the Dalai Lama has pointed out that China and Tibet can have mutual benefits if reconciled. He’s heard saying: “Living within the People’s Republic of China, we can serve, we can help them and we can share our (ancient) knowledge. They, in turn, provide us means of dollars.”
    The occasion for the Tibetan leader’s message is the organization’s 30th founding day anniversary. The department of international relation and information, CTA, released an eight-minute clip of this video message here, wherein the Dalai Lama has spoken briefly on Tibetan’s middle-way approach and the support it has garnered. “Since 1974, we decided not to seek independence. So, now the middle-way approach…. Common interest is more important than one’s own national interest. With that kind of concept, I am very much willing to remain within the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese word ‘gongheguo’ (Republic), shows some kind of union is there,” the Dalai Lama is heard saying in the message.
    Seeking ICT’s help, the Tibetan spiritual leader goes on to say, “Your organization has been, for 30 years, showing genuine support for the Tibetan cause. I always claim that the supporter of Tibetan cause is not pro-Tibetan, but rather pro-justice.”

    We’ve not sought independence for Tibet 01

  6. I see many Indians expressing their displeasure with Tibetans on Twitter daily. Look at what they are saying now.




  7. Modi’s government’s direction is clear regarding the Tibetans – India wants the Tibetan government in exile to avoid indulging in any political activity against Beijing, and on the Indian side, it is stepping up its engagements with China to deepen economic and political cooperation before the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in June, of which Prime Minister Modi is attending the multilateral event.

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval are scheduled to meet their Chinese counterparts before the SCO summit and ministerial engagements with China is expected to translate into a bilateral informal summit between Modi and Xi.

    Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha’s recent note asking all politicians and bureaucrats to refrain from participating in events organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) is a huge contrast to when Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in May 2014, this was when the then Prime Minister (now President) of the Tibetan government in exile Lobsang Sangay was invited for his swearing-in. As India denounce their strong support towards the Tibetans in exile, we know that the CTA’s power is dwindling down, especially when the Dalai Lama said that he wants to “voluntarily” put an end to the process of Dalai Lama succession.

    SCO ministerial summit: Swaraj, Sitharaman to meet their Chinese counterparts in Beijing
    The SCO summit will be in June in Qingdao with Prime Minister Modi attending the multilateral event.
    Updated: Mar 21, 2018 09:07 IST
    Shishir Gupta Hindustan Times, New Delhi
    The government’s engagement with the newly appointed Cabinet of Chinese President Xi Jinping will begin later this month with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman expected to meet their counterparts, state councillor Wang Yi and defence minister General Wei Fenghe, on the sidelines of SCO ministerial summit in Beijing from April 24-26.
    The meeting between Swaraj and Wang has been scheduled while the ministry of defence is expected to seek time from General Wei in a bid to build bilateral trust and cooperation. The SCO summit will be in June in Qingdao with Prime Minister Modi attending the multilateral event.
    South Block officials indicated that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is also expected to fly to Beijing after returning from Washington this weekend to meet his counterpart Wang, who is also the special representative for the India-China boundary dialogue. Wang was appointed state councillor by President Xi on Monday after his predecessor Yang Jiechi was elevated to the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party.
    Top diplomats and China experts told HT that the ongoing engagement with Beijing is designed to deepen economic and political cooperation as Delhi has neither the intention of provoking its neighbour nor the desire to embark on a full-fledged confrontation. This was made clear when cabinet secretary PK Sinha wrote a letter on February 26, asking all politicians and bureaucrats to refrain from participating in events organised by the Tibetan government in exile to celebrate the 60th year of exile of His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
    While the Modi government wants the Tibetan government in exile to avoid indulging in any political activity perceived to be against Beijing, it is clear that it wants its core interests from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to the Indian Ocean to be fully protected. Just as Chinese core interests of Tibet and Taiwan are non-negotiable for Beijing, Delhi is opposed to any unilateral changing of the LAC or Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean. Indian opposition to China Pakistan Economic Corridor, passing through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, is now a matter of record. As reported earlier in HT, the ministerial engagement with China this month is expected to translate into a bilateral informal summit between Modi and Xi.

    Swaraj-Sitharaman-to-meet-their-Chinese-counterparts01 (1)

  8. There were some speculations that India’s objectives in slighting the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) could be because of a prior agreement with China.

    Coincidentally, Foreign Secretary Gokhale’s note leaked a day before the foreign secretary visited Beijing, and now we hear news that Indian ministers have scheduled to meet their Chinese counterparts to prepare for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in June.

    We may never know the real reason is for India’s sudden turn around to appease China. But one thing’s for sure, India will not allow the Tibetans to engage in anti-China activities from now onwards. Like what the article said, “…for India, the Tibetan story was over.”

    Letting Go Of The Dalai Lama And Tibet
    by Bharat Bhushan
    Updated on 21 March 2018, 6:57 PM
    Published on 21 March 2018, 6:57 PM
    The Tibetans in exile must be dismayed after India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale wrote to Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha on Feb. 22 that Indian government officials be advised to skip events organised by the Tibetan Administration in exile. It is not at all certain that the payback from China for alienating the Dalai Lama is going to be commensurate with India’s act.
    India’s objectives in slighting the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), as the Tibetan government in exile is known, and indirectly the Dalai Lama, remain unclear. No one knows what understanding, if any, has been reached with China prompting such action. However, its negative consequences are already at play.
    The Dalai Lama effectively un-invited himself from the plenary session of the Indian Science Congress in Manipur. Reluctant to embarrass the Indian government, the Tibetan leader turned down the invitation to be present at the plenary session with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. To allow a face-saver, his office claimed that the invitation, which the organisers said had been extended two months ago, was never received by him.
    The Dalai Lama is also bound to have been deeply embarrassed, as Gokhale’s directive was leaked in the midst of his thirty-third ‘Mind & Life’ dialogue – an annual debate between science and religion. At that time, he was hosting 200 eminent scientists from all over the world at Dharamshala.
    The charitable interpretation of what Gokhale, an experienced China hand, did would be that his advisory related to only one particular event. The Central Tibetan Administration had planned a massive ‘Thank You India’ event in Delhi to mark 60 years of the Dalai Lama’s exile from Tibet and to acknowledge Indian support for the exiled Tibetan community in the country. The mega-event would have seen an inter-faith meeting at Rajghat and a gathering of nearly 7,000 people at Thyagaraja Stadium in the Capital in the presence of several Indian political leaders. There were plans to invite former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, LK Advani, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijuju, the Vice President of India and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
    Such a high profile Tibetan event would have irritated China to no end.
    It was cancelled hastily after the foreign secretary’s note, shifted to Dharamshala, and downscaled.
    If Foreign Secretary Gokhale was sending a message only to the CTA then the entire episode could have been handled differently. Gokhale has been Indian Ambassador to China as well Joint Secretary (East), the point person in the Ministry of External Affairs for dealing not only with China but also with the Dalai Lama and the CTA. He could have advised the current Joint Secretary (East) to have a quiet word with the ‘Prime Minister’ of the CTA, Lobsang Sangay, who would have complied with the Indian request, and that would have settled the matter.
    That the letter was leaked a day before the foreign secretary was visiting Beijing suggests that a message was also being sent to China – that India would not allow the Dalai Lama to agitate the Tibet issue in India publicly.
    In this scenario, putting curbs on the activities of the Dalai Lama and the CTA in effect would mean that for India, the Tibetan story was over.
    India may also have been upset with the Dalai Lama trying to negotiate with the Chinese keeping it out of the loop. It is an open secret that the Dalai Lama has been in contact with the Chinese for a settlement. Since 1974, his position has been to seek a settlement within China instead of pushing for Tibetan independence. The secretive visit of his emissary and former prime minister of the CTA, Samdong Rinpoche to China in mid-November, where he is believed to have met Chinese officials, might have upset South Block.
    If the Dalai Lama is seen playing ducks and drakes with India, then there is every reason for India to keep off and not be used by the Tibetans in exile.
    The Indian fear may be that in a deal with Beijing, the Dalai Lama concedes that Tibet was always a part of China, then that would undermine Indian position on the McMahon Line, which India considers as the legal boundary between Tibet and its north-eastern region. China rejects the McMahon Line, which is based on the Simla Accord of 1914 signed between Tibet, China, and Great Britain (as the ruler of British India). China claims that Tibet was not a sovereign state and therefore was not qualified to sign any treaties.
    As of now, there is no indication that the Dalai Lama has conceded the Chinese demand that Tibet was always a part of China.
    Nor has he accepted the ‘One China’ policy, i.e. that Taiwan and Tibet are integral parts of China.
    What might be the quid pro quo for India by curbing the activities of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exiles? India ratcheted up tensions with China in 2017 through a series of events culminating in the Doklam stand-off on the Bhutan-China border. Its questionable resolution which was widely projected as Indian ‘victory’, it now turns out, only helped entrench the Chinese forces on the plateau. The Chinese presence there has increased manifold. And the Indian Army, in its proxy role for the Bhutanese, is no longer able to patrol the disputed area it used to earlier.
    Why would those given to rolling up their sleeves to take on China’s might, suddenly take a U-turn?
    Perhaps the new foreign secretary wants to change the atmospherics of Sino-Indian ties before the upcoming preparatory ministerial meetings for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The visits of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj can facilitate a successful visit by Prime Minister Modi to the SCO summit at Qingdao in June.
    There may also have been a more immediate reason for appeasing the Chinese — to secure Chinese support for putting Pakistan on the ‘grey list’ of countries funding terrorism in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international money laundering watch-dog. This would subject Pakistan to intense monitoring and scrutiny by the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) on terror financing. However, the reciprocity at FATF is already in the open – India supported China’s candidature for Vice President of the FATF and in turn, China withdrew its objections to Pakistan being put on the ‘grey list’.
    Could it be that by distancing itself from the Dalai Lama, India hopes that China would become more amenable to its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG)? The prospects for that are bleak as China has linked India’s candidature for the NSG with Pakistan being given entry as a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
    Perhaps India expects that China now stands with it and not Pakistan on designating Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Maulana Masood Azhar as an international terrorist by the United Nations. That too does not seem reasonable and is too small a gesture. In any case, knowing Pakistan, Masood Azhar’s designation as an international terrorist is likely to be as ineffective on the ground as that of Hafiz Saeed’s.
    There may be no immediate or substantial gains from curbing the activities of the Dalai Lama and the CTA in India.
    However, what is clear is that a ‘muscular’ government which had invited Lobsang Sangay to the inauguration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014 along with heads of states from South Asia has taken a step back. In doing so it has lost leverage in dealing with China.
    It may, therefore, no longer be possible for the South Block mandarins to parade the Dalai Lama at will in Arunachal Pradesh to rile the Chinese as they did in April 2017. Nor would it possible to fly the ‘Prime Minister’ of the CTA, Lobsang Sangay to unfurl the Tibetan flag “metres from Tibet” at Pangong Lake in Ladakh to snub Beijing; or ‘allow’ Tibetan protests outside the Chinese Embassy whenever a dignitary from that country visited India.
    There is also a possibility that some Tibetans youngsters – frustrated with the ineffectiveness of the Dalai Lama’s ‘middle path’ and the Indian government’s stance – may choose a different, less peaceful approach to struggle for Tibetan independence.
    Bharat Bhushan is a journalist based in Delhi.
    The views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of Bloomberg Quint or its editorial team.


  9. India banning Tibetans from hosting a rally with the Dalai Lama this month for the 60th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule is a clear sign that India wants to improve ties with China.

    China said that it is “willing to keep up the good momentum of two-way cooperation with India,” while the Indian side mentioned that India and China agreed to consult each other on regional and international issues.

    You can’t really fault India for doing so. After all, it was His Holiness the Dalai Lama who batted for the recognition of the “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” (India and China are brothers) spirit to take Sino-Indian relations forward.

    India’s Modi, China’s Xi ready to improve bilateral ties
    Published: March 21, 2018 8:26 am On: World
    BEIJING/ NEW DELHI: India and China agreed to consult each other on regional and international issues, the Indian side said after a phone call on Tuesday between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
    Relations between the two countries have been tense since last year after their troops faced off on a disputed part of their border. On Tuesday Modi called Xi to congratulate him on his re-election.“The two leaders agreed that as two major powers growing rapidly, bilateral relations between India and China are vital for the realisation of 21st Century as ‘Asian Century’,” Modi’s office said in a statement.
    Hundreds of troops were deployed in 2017 on the Doklam plateau, near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan, and China after New Delhi objected to Chinese construction of a road through the mountainous area in their most serious standoff in years.
    China is willing to keep up the good momentum of two-way cooperation with India, Xi told Modi, China’s state news agency Xinhua said.
    China is ready to enhance communication with Modi on long-term, strategic bilateral issues to promote political mutual trust, Xi added.
    China was also angered by Modi’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, a state in northeast India claimed by China.
    In a bid to improve ties with China, India banned Tibetans from hosting a rally with the Dalai Lama this month to mark the 60th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule. Beijing regards the Tibetan spiritual leader as a splittist.


  10. The Tibetan government in exile has been dumped by the Indian government for a bigger prize: China. For years, the Tibetan government in exile would accuse Dorje Shugden people of taking money from the Chinese but everyone knows that this is not true. Now even their host, India, will be friends with China. Everyone will be friends with China sooner or later, and the Tibetan leadership beg to be as well. The Tibetan leadership shouldn’t have messed with Dorje Shugden people. Too bad for you! And when the Tibetan leadership is friends with China, what will they accuse the Dorje Shugden people of then???

    Is India abruptly dumping Dalai Lama to be in China’s good books?
    By S. N. M. Abdi
    Special to Al Arabiya English
    Wednesday, 21 March 2018
    New Delhi has suddenly ditched the Dalai Lama – the Nobel Prize winning Tibetan spiritual leader who runs a government-in-exile from India – apparently to mend fences with an increasingly assertive China.
    The Dalai Lama has been a revered guest in India for 60 long years after he crossed the Himalayan border to escape the wrath of communist China.
    Since 1959, successive governments in New Delhi generously hosted him and his Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) headquartered in Dharamsala along with 95,000 Tibetan refugees, even as Beijing accused India of sheltering China’s Enemy Number 1 and threatened reprisals.
    New Delhi’s brave and principled stand was lauded globally and the Dalai Lama – one of the world’s most recognized faces and a human rights icon – emotionally described himself last year as a “son” of India. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government seems to have just dropped the Dalai Lama like a hot potato inviting charges of capitulation and kowtowing to China.
    The volte-face is evident from India’s new Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s top secret note to Cabinet Secretary P. K. Sinha to ensure that “senior leaders” and “government functionaries” boycott CTA’s events from March 31 to mark the 60th year of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in the country.
    Gokhale’s confidential memo published verbatim by the Indian Express newspaper said: “The proposed period (March 31 onwards) will be a very sensitive time in the context of India’s relations with China. Participation by senior leaders or government functionaries, either from the central government or state governments, is not desirable, and should be discouraged.”
    Sinha, in turn, issued strict instructions to central and state governments to steer clear of CTA functions.
    Sacrificial lamb
    “It’s as clear as daylight that India wants to appease and please China”, a top diplomatic source told Al Arabiya. “And the Dalai Lama is the sacrificial lamb at the altar of Indian interests. Modi won’t have to pay a price domestically for dumping the Dalai Lama.”
    The diplomat, who declined to be named, said that “India’s climb-down is spurred by hard realities like China’s GDP which is nearly five times that of India; China’s defence spending which is three times larger than India’s, not to speak of the $52 billion trade deficit which underline China’s huge military and economic edge over India.”
The abrupt and complete reversal after the bluster and muscle-flexing in 2017, especially during the Doklam stand-off, has angered many in India.
    Sushant Singh, one of India’s top defense analysts, tweeted: “The story is not what India does to Dalai Lama. It is how India is unable to deal with China effectively. As we know, China never withdrew fully from Doklam and we have had to accept the new status quo. We have been made to believe that India is standing up to China and not going to “appease” it. This is a clear departure from what people have been told so far, especially after Doklam ‘disengagement’. This is what happens when we adopt an ostrich-like attitude towards China …then lie & obfuscate to our citizens.”
    Chickening out?
    Another observer, Anuradha Dighe, wrote: “Modiji first chickened out of Dokalam unconditionally and without a signed treaty & lost Bhutan’s trust. Now afraid of interacting with Tibetans in his own country India. Next Modi will give Arunachal Pradesh to China in fear.”
    Sources told Al Arabiya that New Delhi – which has traditionally used the Dalai Lama as a bargaining chip with China – decided to pacify Beijing by dumping the Tibetan spiritual leader to ensure that Modi gets a good reception in Qingdao during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in June.
    But low-key, warm up celebrations in Dharamsala last week had an unexpected representative from India: George Baker. The nominated BJP MP from West Bengal defied the government’s directive and spent three days in Dharamsala with his Tibetan hosts.
    The former actor told Al Arabiya: “As a lawmaker, I can travel to any part of India. Moreover, Tibetans are victims of Chinese oppression and as a rabidly anti-Chinese Indian, it’s my national duty to join Tibetan celebrations.”
    Last Update: Wednesday, 21 March 2018 KSA 15:00 – GMT 12:00

    Is India abruptly dumping Dalai Lama

  11. India has switched its policy on Tibet in order to align itself with China and gain economic benefits. With high unemployment rate and serious poverty issues in the countryside resulted in the Kisan Long March, as well as the uncertainties of the General Elections coming up in 2019, Modi’s government need to prioritise the interest of 1.3 billion people over 95,000 Tibetan refugees.

    As the largest recipient of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) under the “Belt & Road” initiative, India needs to maintain good relations with China, especially after the Doklam tension. The reality is the fact that India cannot afford to go to war with China as its army is not as well equipped and the cost of war would be astronomical. So India is now opting a conciliatory as opposed to a hardline approach in order to keep China at bay, and for PM Modi to possibly have a higher chance to succeed in the coming election.

    Modi and Xi are expected to meet this year on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit to be held in June this year at the Chinese city of Qingdao, and Modi’s congratulatory note to Xi for getting re-elected as the President on Chinese social media platform Weibo is a confirmation that further development of Sino-Indian bilateral relations is definitely under way.

    Tibet and India’s China Policy
    Is India sacrificing Tibet to improve a frosty relationship with China?
    By K.S. Venkatachalam
    March 20, 2018
    China’s foreign policy with India has oscillated between a ballistic approach and studied indifference. India’s approach, meanwhile, has recently flipped from a hardline to a conciliatory approach, confusing observers.
    At the heart of India-China tensions is the dispute over territory in the Aksai Chin area, and Tawang in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as a part of southern Tibet. Both countries have so far held 20 rounds of talks to settle the disputes, but, unfortunately, an acceptable solution has eluded them. To the credit of both sides, they have not allowed the situation to go out of control.
    However, the situation took a turn for the worse after the Doklam standoff in summer 2017. In spite of a propaganda blitzkrieg and other intimidating tactics adopted by China, India stood its ground. Although India is not a party to the Doklam dispute — that dispute is between China and the tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan — China’s forcible occupation of the area may threaten India’s security. Doklam is critical, as it would allow the Chinese troops to enter India through the Siliguri Corridor or “chicken’s neck” that links the northeastern states to the rest of India. China’s decision to enter Doklam was interpreted as a premeditated move to alter the status quo that had prevailed for decades.
    China was surprised by India’s tough posture. Eventually, after tense negotiations, both sides withdrew from the sensitive area, thus diffusing what could have led to an ugly conflict.
    India realizes that any war with China would not be in its interests, as the Chinese military is far stronger. On the other hand, China also recognizes that a conflict with India would adversely affect its humongous investment made in India’s neighborhood and that the best way forward would be to maintain peace along the border.
    Apart from the border disputes, another major irritant for China has been over the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, who in 1959 (along with tens of thousands of his disciples) was granted refuge in India, where he enjoys a special status. China considers Dalai Lama a dangerous separatist, who even today has great influence over Tibetans. It must be mentioned that Dalai Lama gave up his support for Tibetan independence in 1974, and only wants China to stop repression against the community.
    China did not take kindly to the Dalai Lama’s visit to the disputed area of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh last year. The Chinese termed his visit, particularly to Tawang, a “provocation” by India. India responded that “The government has clearly stated on several occasions that HHDL [His Holiness the Dalai Lama] is a revered religious leader, who is deeply respected as such by the Indian people. No additional color should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities and visits to various states of India.”
    Since then, however, tensions have cooled. There have been several recent developments that were viewed with interest in India. China recently did not oppose the move of the United States to put Pakistan on the “grey list’” of the Financial Action Task Force for funding terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. China’s decision, especially when it has invested billions of dollars in Pakistan under its Belt and Road Initiative, came as a welcome surprise.
    Then, in a significant departure from its stated position on the Dalai Lama, New Delhi refused permission to the Central Tibetan Administration to hold the interfaith prayer and “Thank you India” functions in Delhi, which were scheduled to be held on March 31 and April 1. India’s foreign secretary, in a note to the cabinet secretary, advised the senior leaders and government functionaries not to participate in the events organized by Tibetan organizations as such a step would further deteriorate India’s relations with China.
    The note comes as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit China in June to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. Modi is expected to hold talks with the Chinese president on the sidelines of the summit. India does not want any incident that could derail the talks. According to China watchers, this prompted the cancellation of Tibetan events in Delhi.
    India’s decision has sent confusing signals to the Tibetans, as they have always looked upon India to support their cause. Many experts interpret India’s stand as weakness in light of the growing military power of China. According to defense experts, China is continuing to build up its military strength at Doklam and that India is unable to prevent the Chinese from building roads in the sensitive region. It is therefore important that the Indian prime minister takes up the issue with President Xi Jinping and impress on him that if China forcibly builds road in Doklam, it could have serious ramification on India-China relations. To achieve that goal, foreign policy experts worry that Modi may sacrifice the cause of Tibet at the altar of better relations with China.
    The ability of India and China to be global powers hinges on forming close economic ties and continuing efforts to engage with one another. This is sine qua non for ushering in peace and stability in the region. It is hoped that the Chinese government will take note of the significant shift in India’s policy on the Dalai Lama, and make every effort to improve bilateral ties. China’s positive response could persuade India to join the multibillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative. This will go a long way in strengthening relations, especially at a time when both the countries are embarking on their journey to become global powers.
    K.S. Venkatachalam is an independent columnist and political commentator.


  12. Looks like India is taking serious measures to ensure that the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Dharamsala does not engage in any political activity perceived to be against Beijing.

    An event to mark 60 years of the Dalai Lama’s stay in India, originally planned in Delhi, was moved back to Dharamsala in order not to create issues for India as Sino-Indian ties are very tense at the moment. As a result, organisers were forced to hold the programme in the temple complex where the Dalai Lama and his followers have been living for decades.

    Many are speculating whether these cancellations and the new Indian government policy are permanent or just temporary. Looking at the series of engagements lined up between Delhi and Beijing, such as the upcoming visits to China by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, India is determine to mind Sino-Indian relations post-Doklam, which means the Tibetans should get ready for more bad news in the coming months.

    Dalai Lama event: Not Delhi or Dharamsala stadium, but temple zone
    By Rakesh Mohan Chaturvedi, ET Bureau | Updated: Mar 16, 2018, 08.59 AM IST
    NEW DELHI: Tibetans in exile have moved the venue of an event to mark 60 years of Dalai Lama’s stay in India from the cricket stadium in Dharamsala to a temple complex in the region.
    The event was to be held in New Delhi initially but was shifted to Dharamsala shortly after a government note asked senior leaders and officials to refrain from attending it.
    The Tibetan government in exile had approached the administration for permission to use the cricket stadium but the organise the celebrations there.
    Government insiders denied any pressure was exerted on the organisers to give up the request for the Dharamsala stadium. “We have very cordial and warm relations with the Dalai Lama and are willing to do whatever we can to help his followers,” an official said.
    Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had sent out a note last month to Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, following which the latter issued a directive that it was not ‘desirable’ for senior leaders and government functionaries of the Centre or states to participate in programmes of the Tibetan government in exile. This was ostensibly done to avoid rubbing China the wrong way as Sino-Indian ties were delicately poised at the moment.
    China has described the Dalai Lama as a ‘dangerous separatist’.
    External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman are set to make separate visits to China next month.

    Dalai Lama Event Not Delhi or Dharamsala

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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