Narendra Modi, World Leaders Must Increase Engagements with Dalai Lama

Rise of China and its rather aggressive approach in its pursuance of ‘One China’ policy has forced a rethink on Tibet in many capitals
around the world including New Delhi.

Indian government has also been distancing itself from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Silence of top government officials on Dalai Lama’s birthday celebration also hints the same. It has been learnt that Delhi has urged the Tibetan leadership to restrain itself to spiritual activities.

There have been no requests from the prime minister’s office to schedule a meeting with His Holiness since he came to power in 2014. If the sources are to be believed, Narendra Modi did meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama but it happened in the night in a rather quiet moment with no photo-ops as it happens when two top leaders meet.

This may be counter-productive in dealing with an increasingly aggressive China. This policy needs to be shunned immediately and China shall not be allowed a free run in Tibet and elsewhere (Xingxiang and East China Sea ) at any cost.

Over the last six months, however, the line from Delhi has become much tougher, as the government seeks to re-balance its relationship with China.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale wrote a letter in February urging the Tibetan government-in-exile to cancel all its programs in New Delhi, perhaps with an intention to not upset the China. But, the Chinese have supported Pakistan every now and then. The world shall not use Tibet as card in dealing with China. It’s a matter of great concern as China has been trying to undermine entire Tibetan Culture. It has been silently and very programmatically waging a cultural soft power war in Tibet.

China has even counterfeited the Panchen Lama by introducing a ‘fake’ one. The whereabouts of the original Panchen Lama are still not known. This is not only obnoxious but also would not find a parallel in the world. This is the greatest example of cultural and religious undermining. Recently, many in Tibet were arrested for keeping pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The engagement of the world with Tibetans in Tibet must increase and Lhasa must be made more accessible to the world else it might be too late. Tibetan culture and Buddhism has retained the charm of a bygone era and can show a way forward to the whole world. Tibetan
Diaspora has a larger role to play in this regard.

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Sachin Diwaker

An engineering graduate, he likes exploring different cultures. He believes that words have the power to transcend eras and remain relevant as a treasure of humanity.

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