On 20 May, the chief guest President Dr Sangay addressed the gathering with an inspirational talk at the Indo Tibet Summit, organised by South and East Asia Foundation at Constitutional Club of India, New Delhi.
Gesturing to the hoarding on stage, Dr Sangay expressed joy in seeing ‘India and Tibet’ affixed together as both nations share a deep spiritual and cultural ties. He said India’s biggest and best export has been and will be Buddhism.
"As far as the next Dalai Lama is concerned it's already on the table and he can come through reincarnation, selection or emanation. These options are on the table but not yet executed," he said while speaking at the 'Indo-Tibet Summit' organised by the South and East Asia Foundation in New Delhi.
'His Holiness the Dalai Lama says that he will decide at the age of 90, but I think it should happen sooner and I think it is likely to happen,' Dr Sangay said. In reincarnation, one has to die and reborn. Selection is when the high lamas meet and select His Holiness the Dalai Lama and emanation is when he designates his own successor before he passes away.
Dr Sangay said that as per the procedure, selection of the next Dalai Lama by China would be "illegitimate". "The communist party says religion is poison. They don't believe in religion. They destroy monasteries, disrobe monks and nuns. What is the basis of legitimacy they will have to select the next Dalai Lama? Not at all," he said.
Drawing a parallel of Chinese picking the next Dalai Lama akin to a communist leader selecting a Shankaracharya he said, "Do you think the devotees will accept the Shankaracharya? Very unlikely! Hence, selecting the Dalai Lama is Dalai Lama's business and no one else's".
Dr Sangay also said that the Tibet administration was adopting a middle-way policy in dealing with China, a view supported by the Dalai Lama. He also decried the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet that have engendered an onslaught on religious freedom in Tibet and cited the 2017 Freedom House report that pointed to Buddhism as the most repressed religion in China.
The President recalled the words of Chinese President Xi Jinping who said: ‘China’s security and stability is dependent on Tibet’s security and stability,’ and explained that such strategic approach where individual Tibetans have to give up on their ‘security’ in return for gaining ‘harmony’ warrants increased repression in Tibet.
Elucidating on the increased repression in Tibet under the Chinese rule, President Dr. Sangay said: “China is ranked 5th from the bottom again on this year’s World Press Freedom Index. The 2016 Freedom House report ranked Tibet in the second worst in political and civil freedom after Syria. Simon Denyer, China bureau chief of Washington Post confessed that Tibet is harder to visit than North Korea.”
“Till date, 149 Tibetans have self-immolated thus demonstrating to the world that the occupation of Tibet is unacceptable and the oppression is unbearable,” Dr Sangay said.
Speaking on the growing prominence of Buddhism in today’s world Dr Sangay explained: “while Buddhism in Tibet has been severely constrained and regulated in recent years, Buddhism continues to be strong among the Tibetan people, and continues to grow rapidly in China and have maintained large and stable Buddhist populations in South East Asia, Korea, and Japan. In today’s world 14 countries are predominantly Buddhists countries and 52 countries have large numbers of Buddhists. In addition, Buddhism is growing rapidly in the United States, Europe, and Latin America.”
The President also expressed gratitude towards India for all the support shown by it towards the Tibetan cause over the years. "India and Indian government has done the most work for Tibetan people. But recently, what has happened is that what was happening in closed doors is now being done out in the open," he said.
Dr Sangay cited the Dalai Lama's visit with President Pranab Mukherjee at the Nobel Peace laureates conference at the presidential palace, the International Buddhist Conference in Nalanda, where the Tibetan spiritual guru was the chief guest, and President Sangay's presence at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony as the proof that the Indo-Tibet ties have become more open.
Thanking India for providing the spine for the Tibetan freedom struggle, Dr Sangay said he is what he is because of India. “The Tibetan freedom struggle is the original ‘made in India’ struggle. The cornerstone of Tibetan freedom struggle is based on the foundations of the Indian philosophy of ahimsa. Tibetan democracy is modeled on Indian democracy. The success of Tibetan freedom struggle will be India’s success story,” he said.
The President concluded saying “the day freedom will be restored in Tibet and when His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetans in exile will be reunited with the Tibetans inside Tibet, a new chapter of hope and success will be written in world history. While Tibetans will be key author of the chapter, India will be the coauthor.”
Tibet was invaded by the Communist regime in China, starting in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 Tibetans died as a direct result of China's invasion and continued occupation of Tibet, over 6000 monasteries have been looted and destroyed— Crimes against Humanity and Genocide include murder, massacres, torture, rape, starvation, extreme deprivation, forced marches, enslavement, brutal violence, and systematic extermination. The communist regime continues to call this a 'peaceful liberation', that the "Tibetans are living in a Maoist socialist paradise."