Dharamshala: - Friday, September 21, 2012, addressing over 200 staff members and secretaries of the Central Tibetan Administration, and MPs, Madhuri Santanam Sondhi, director of the M. L. Sondhi Institute for Asia Pacific Affairs gave an insightful speech regarding India, China and Tibet: Realities and Opportunities.
Drawing upon a wealth of experience and knowledge of the relationship and history of Tibet, India and China, MadhuriSantanamSondhi, who is director of the M. L. Sondhi Institute for Asia Pacific Affairs, spoke at the CTA in Dharamshala encouragingly and with great insight.
"It is my great joy to be with you during this 4th Session of your 15th Parliament - Professor Sondhi and I have watched with great interest the evolution of your democracy in exile", she stated; referring to her late husband who was also heavily involved in the relationship between Tibetan democracy in exile, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and India.
Highlighting the path to democracy in exile, Sondhi highlighted:
"Much has been written by historians and political scientists about why Nehru and the Government of India took the ambiguous stands they did - remaining passive bystanders when the PLA entered Tibet in 1950, urging HH to return to Tibet in 1956, then welcoming him and the Tibetan émigrés in 1959".
Colourfully, she added: "However as my husband was fond of telling His Holiness - it is not for nothing that India has chosen the elephant as her national animal. This huge beast is difficult to get moving - it resists at first -digs in its feet with various parts - ears, tail, trunk - moving and flapping in different directions:- but once the mahout succeeds in goading it - it runs fast and direct in the direction you want. So with India one has to have faith, perseverance and patience".
She then drew upon the India, China Tibet triangle's present situation:
"Firstly we all know that at present most of the world is engaged with China - the economic rewards are too enticing, what with the globalisation of industry and finance. This includes India despite our very serious strategic problems with China". However she then highlighted the growing instability in the region, highlighting how experts question if China constitutes as a stable government.
She urged for Tibetans and their supporters to keep up a campaign to educate the Indian public and officialdom on the importance of the Tibetan plateau to India-"strategically, ecologically, ideologically and culturally".
"The MLSIAPA [ML Sondhi Institute for Asia-Pacific Affairs] in collaboration with the TPPRC [Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre] organised a roundtable in Delhi last month to elicit suggestions as to what possible policy options exist for both Indians and Tibetans, at the official and unofficial levels, to address the current situation".
The approach highlighted encouragingly measures that could be taken to address the situation in Tibet: drawing upon history between the regions, and practical implementations. Many points involved greater dialogue with China, an increased interest by Indian delegations in Tibet, as well as solutions in exile for Tibetans and their future options.
The speech was co-hosted by Karma Choephel: Tibetan parliamentary and research centre member in Dharamshala. MadhuriSantanamSondhi is Director of the M. L. Sondhi Institute for Asia Pacific Affairs. Sondhi is a former Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, a columnist for the Asian Age, and Editor of Shakti.