Dharamshala: The Department of Information and International Relations held an awareness programme for Indian Tibet supporters, on the Middle-Way Approach, on April 17 in the Tibet Hotel, Dharamshala, India.
Mr Tashi Phunstok, the secretary for the Department of Information and International Relations chaired the meeting, which was facilitated by Mrs Mingyur Youdon from the Department of Information and International Relations and Mr. Sonam Dorjee who is the Tibetan welfare officer in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala.
Tashi Phunstok began the conference by explaining why the programme has been held, "we are here to understand the Middle Way Approach (MWA), and how people understand it is very important therefore that makes understanding the approach a priority."
He followed this by saying that in order to properly comprehend the MWA we have to understand the current situation in Tibet, what the aspirations of Tibetans are and what the stance on this approach is of international organisations.
"In trying to be aware of the current situation In Tibet we have to take into account the tragic events of the past 50 years, and also recognise the desperation of the Tibetans, shown in the acts of the 114 (now 115) since 2009."
Mr Phunstok spoke of how China's hard-line approach towards Tibet has not changed since its inception in 1949. "China is becoming the first superpower; they are going to extreme lengths to ensure that their policies are upheld."
He continued by highlighting the fact that there has been no active support by other governments; explaining that "China has demanded the governments who wish to engage with them to accept their 'One China' policy." Mr Phunstok gave the current example of Nepal, where Tibetans are currently facing oppression by Chinese authorities in a country that traditionally provided refuge for them.
"Under these circumstances, what can Tibetan's do? What is the pragmatic approach?" questioned Mr Phunstok, this middle way approach provides the answer.
Speaking of one of the aspects of the MWA, that Tibet remain a part of China, Mr Phunstok spoke of its advantages, "the world has now become a 'global village' and we are 'global citizens', boarders are insignificant, there is no strict wall protecting a country." Said Mr Phunstok, "the EU was thought to be radical; now over twenty countries have broken down their barriers and become one country. In that union there is economic protection of all countries."
A question was asked by the president of the Indo-Tibetan Friendship society on whether there is resistance by Tibetans in Tibet and abroad on the MWA. Mr Phunstok replied that there is a democracy in exile Tibetan community, and therefore this gives space for difference of opinion. "The MWA has been unanimously adopted by the Tibetan parliament, it was also agreed upon by 60-70% of the Tibetan population."
Mr Phunstok rounded up his speech by saying that although the benefits of this approach are slow, they will however have long lasting and powerful effects.
A documentary was shown, on the different aspects of the Middle Way policy, it showed the history of the MWA and its various achievements.