VIJAYAWADA: Should India, at least now, take a bold stand over Tibet’s independence without fearing the backlash it would have to face from China? This was a question raised at the panel discussion on ‘How important is Tibetan Issue to India’, held by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, with the support of KVSR Siddhartha College of Pharmaceutical Sciences here on Tuesday.
At the event, Lieutenant General PG Kamath, Veteran General Indian Army, Leadership Development Specialist and Defense Analyst, presented a brief timeline of occasions when India failed to take a stand for Tibet.
“From August 1947 to October 1950, India did not safeguard its Northern borders even after being slaves for more than 200 years. Until several years after independence, we did not even have a defence policy. How can we have a Tibet Policy? The three years for which China was fighting a civil war could have been used for taking a lead on this issue,” he added.
He concluded his presentation by saying that the country was now equipped to face consequences and there was no need to be afraid of China, therefore, it was high time for India to take a bold stand on the issue.
Speaking on the importance of preserving Tibetan culture, Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Ven Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, said, “Roots of Tibetan culture lie deep in India. Many things have been adopted from India, Buddhism being the most significant.” He further spoke on how India had been instrumental in preserving the Tibetan culture despite China destroying nearly 6,000 Buddhist monasteries in Tibet.
Further, Tempa Gyatsen Zamlha, Research Fellow, Tibet Policy Institute, Central Tibetan Administration, raised an important point, highlighting how the Tibetan plateau was Geo-politically important to all Asian countries, especially India and China. “The two most important rivers — Brahmaputra and Indus — which provide water to crores of Indians and the other two major rivers — Yangtse and the Yellow river — which provide water to nearly whole of China, originate in Tibet,” he said.
While talking about environmental issues, he focused on four major points. He talked about Tibet being the ‘roof of the world’ and the highest as well as the largest plateau. He also talked about how fast the country’s glaciers were melting, also affecting India due to an increase in temperatures. He also threw light on the country being the water tower of Asia (it is the main source of six major rivers in Asia).
While concluding the discussion Srikanth Kondapalli, Professor in Chinese Studies, Centre for East Asian Studies, JNU, said that India should now bring the Tibet issue to the notice of the United Nations.
“We already have nearly 1,60,000 Tibetan refugees in India. There has been no strong pillar of support for us after we gave shelter to his holiness Dalai Lama. I do not know what is stopping India from raising the Tibet issue. We can emerge as the strongest support to Tibet without being afraid of China,” he signed off.