06 Mar 2018
After India snub, Tibetans shift Dalai Lama event from Delhi
Written byGogona Saikia
New Delhi's zeal to rebuild relations with Beijing has taken a toll on the anniversary celebrations of Dalai Lama's arrival in India.
While an inter-faith prayer in Delhi has been cancelled, a 'Thank You India' event has been moved to Dharamsala.
Still, the Tibetan-government-in-exile remains pragmatic: "Indian people have been very generous to us. We understand the compulsions," said Ngodup Dhongchung, the Dalai's representative.
60 years after Dalai fled, China refuses to acknowledge him
Sixty years later, China continues to deny him recognition. Tibetans can be arrested if caught with his writings.
Barack Obama's public appearance with the Dalai caused outrage.
Meanwhile, refugees established a government-in-exile in Dharamsala. It will be dissolved when "freedom is restored in Tibet."
'Proposed period very sensitive time for India-China relations': Gokhale
Murmurs about India's displeasure with the Tibetan government's upcoming planned events erupted after a directive from Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha.
Sinha urged "senior leaders" and "government functionaries" to refrain from participating in them, owing to "the sensitive nature of the subject."
This came on Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale's orders, who specifically mentioned the 'Thank You India' event at Delhi's Thyagaraj Stadium on April 1.
One event cancelled, another's venue shifted, but others unchanged
Now an inter-faith prayer planned at the Rajghat on March 31 has been cancelled, and the 'Thank You India' venue changed.
Plans have been re-worked too: politicians were to give speeches, Indian representatives gifted, and Manmohan Singh and LK Advani invited.
But now it'll be a "low-key affair."
However, other events, including a "Bharat Jagran Yatra" by Tibetan Youth Congress, will happen as planned.
The move could have long-term consequences for India
Though the Tibetan government has been cordial, there's a sense of hurt in the community, HT reports.
Activists are looking at it as a sign of "personal humiliation" for the Dalai.
"The Dalai represents the moderate strand within the movement. If Tibetans begin feeling his approach is futile, it will lead to radicalization," a source said, warning Tibetans will view it as abandonment.
No change in our stand, Dalai Lama deeply revered: India
Meanwhile, India insisted there's no change in its stance. "The Dalai is...deeply respected. He's accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in India," a statement said.
This government has sent out mixed signals: whereas not many top officials have met the Dalai, on the other hand, it allowed him to visit conflicted Arunachal.
The Tibetan head-of-exiled-government also attended PM Modi's swearing-in.
High-level India-China meetings planned in the coming months
Meanwhile, India and China are attempting to mend relations, which have suffered in recent times, especially after the Doklam standoff.
Last month, Gokhale met Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and councillor Yang Jiechi in Beijing.
A high-level meeting is expected shortly.
March will also see Chinese ministerial delegations visiting India.
The Dalai snub is being seen as an attempt to please China.