Dharamshala: The announcement of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India in November has boosted the hopes of Tibetans living in exile, as speculation mounts that the Tibet issue may be on the agenda of Indo-US discussions.
Recent overtures by the Obama government to the exiled community have been encouraging - especially the submitting of the US State Department’s Report on Tibet Negotiations: March 2009 - February 2010 to Congress in August. The report called for a better dialogue between Beijing and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
"We continue to encourage representatives of the PRC (People's Republic of China) and His Holiness the Dalai Lama to hold direct and substantive discussions aimed at the resolution of differences, without precondition," the report read.
On the same day as the report - August 18- the US government also called on Nepal to honour a past commitment to allow Tibetan refugees the freedom to travel to India through Nepal. In a meeting with Nepal's home minister, the visiting US Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Atul Keshup, expressed concern over the "violation of a gentleman's agreement".
Many Tibetans feel the Obama visit will further the cause of the exiled community and that the US will play a larger role in negotiating a better dialogue between China and His Holiness.
There have been nine rounds of talks since 2002 but none have produced major results, and there was a hiatus of almost 15 months before the last round in January 2010 in Beijing.