His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Photo: OHHD/Tenzin Choejor

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

New Delhi, India  — The All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet urges the Indian government to award the Bharat Ratna to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and invite him to address a joint session of the Indian Parliament. It also proposes the adoption of a policy along the lines of the US Tibet Policy and Support Act.

Members of the All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APIPFT) and the Core Group for Tibetan Cause, India met at the India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi, on August 3, 2022 and decided in unison to request the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to request His Holiness the Dalai Lama to address the Indian Parliament. The forum requests Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar to invite the Dalai Lama to address the MPs at Central Hall.

The MPs present at the meeting were Sujeet Kumar, President of APIPFT, from Odisha, Sushil Kumar Modi and Aneel Hedge from Bihar, Rajendra Agrawal and Ashok Bajpai from Uttar Pradesh, Tapir Gao from Arunachal Pradesh, Lehar Singh Siroya from Karnataka, Hissey Lachungpa and Indra Hang Subba from Sikkim and Vinay Tendulkar from Goa.

Hishey Lachungpa, MP from the Sikkim Democratic Front in the Rajya Sabha, proposed a joint petition of MPs requesting Bharat Ratna for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Sushil Kumar Modi, MP from Rajya Sabha, proposed a Bill on the lines of the US Tibetan Policy and Support Act.

According to Indian media reports, MP Kumar has also prepared a private member's bill for a Tibet Policy Act, which asks the government to appoint a Special Coordinator in the Ministry of External Affairs of India for Tibetan issues, to promote "substantive dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama and his representatives or democratically elected leaders of the Tibetan community, among other things”.

According to the bill, the Special Coordinator should build international diplomatic coalitions to oppose any move by the Chinese government to "select, educate and venerate Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders in a manner inconsistent with Tibetan Buddhism, wherein the succession or identification of Tibetan Buddhist lamas, including the Dalai Lama, should be carried out without interference, in a manner consistent with the beliefs of Tibetan Buddhists”.

The All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet, which has over 20 MPs from different Indian parties including the BJP and Congress, has decided to urge all MPs to pay special attention to solving the problems of Tibetans living in different parts of the country, in consultation with local authorities.

Tapir Gao, MP from Arunachal Pradesh, proposed "a big rally of the forum members in support of Tibet, which will create awareness and draw attention to the issue of Tibet". He also requested the government to allocate a fund, not less than three million Rupees, in the Union Budget to help the democratic activities of Tibetan refugees in India.