Shillong: - The political leader of Tibet Dr. Lobsang Sangay said it is in the geopolitical and environmental interest of Asia, including India, to support Tibetans in resolving the issue of Tibet through dialogue with China.
Addressing a press conference in Shillong today, Sikyong Sangay stated, “India has a very important role to play to resolve the issue of Tibet as the relationship between India and Tibet goes back centuries. His Holiness the Dalai Lama always says India is our guru and we are India ‘chelas’ because we follow Buddhism based on Nalanda tradition. In ancient times, scholars from Nalanda University were invited to Tibet and they preached the school of Buddhism which we practice today. So the Nalanda tradition is best preserved by the Tibetan people in this present world.”
“Secondly, Tibet is vital for the whole of Asia, particularly India, from the environmental perspective. Billions of people in Asia – including China and India – depend on major rivers such as the Brahmaputra, Sutlej, Indus, and Mekong which originate from Tibet. Diversion of rivers, deforestation, and mineral exploitation taking place in Tibet under the Chinese government will have serious repercussions on the whole of Asia,” he said.
The leader continued to discuss India’s potential role in the issue. “Thirdly, a solution to the issue of Tibet will usher a peaceful boundary between India and China. Historically, Tibet served as a buffer zone between the two countries before its invasion by China. So India could play a very constructive role to resolve the issue of Tibet. Having said that, we always remember India has been the most generous country for Tibetan people. The Indian government has been very supportive on humanitarian issues as well,” he added.
Responding to a question on the prospects of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet, Dr Sangay said His Holiness would return to his homeland Tibet in the near future. “His Holiness will very soon return to Tibet. The universal slogan is we want to see the return of Dalai Lama to Tibet. Given a choice, Tibetans will like to be led by a Tibetan rather than governed by the Chinese,” he articulated.
“That’s why I left America; I left my job at Harvard to come to India so that we can all go back to Tibet.”
The Tibetan Prime Minister again noted the Central Tibetan Administration’s official Middle Way Policy as his preferred path moving forward. “We want to see an immediate end to the sufferings of the people in Tibet, for which we are willing to compromise in seeking separation from China, if we are given full autonomy in future,” he declared.
Dr Sangay, who took over political responsibilities from the Dalai Lama in 2011, said the Tibetans are looking forward to discussing the issue with the Chinese leadership. “Since January 2010, we didn’t have any formal dialogue with the Chinese government. We believe in a peaceful dialogue to solve the issue.”
The Sikyong concluded by noting, “We look forward to the new Chinese leadership. We hope they will also believe wisely that dialogue is the way to solve the issue of Tibet for their own interest as they want respect from the international community and they ought to show respect to the Tibetan people.”