Is China succeeding in putting a noose on the Dalai Lama? India will have to maintain a cautious approach


The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetans, has himself admitted that China wants to approach him to resolve the Tibet issue. The Dalai Lama made a statement in Dharamshala on Saturday itself that he is always ready for talks.

Amidst the sound of Lok Sabha elections in India, China has once again started trying to lay siege to India afresh. India’s staunch neighboring enemy Pakistan is already completely laid in front of China but the biggest danger is that Taliban who do not like the way of governance and with military power and strength inside their country China, which oppresses Muslims, is also trying to bring Afghanistan into its fold by showing greed for funds and investments. While this is the same Afghanistan, India has always not only given financial assistance to save and maintain it, but has strongly supported the people of Afghanistan in every phase of crisis. India, which has so far helped billions of dollars in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan, had announced a grant of Rs 200 crore to Afghanistan in this year’s (2023-24) general budget as well. China is now trying to trap the same Afghanistan in the debt trap with the help of its BRI project.

Actually, Afghanistan is a very important country strategically due to its location at the crossroads of Asia. It connects South Asia with Central Asia and Central Asia with West Asia. India has contact with the countries of Central Asia like Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan only through Afghanistan. The countries of Central Asia are rich in oil and gas and hence it is very important for any country in the world. The increasing Chinese influence in Afghanistan will not only create challenges for India at the diplomatic level, but many challenges will also arise from within the country, especially in Kashmir and Punjab, because the Taliban’s relations with terrorist organizations are well known. And this country is also one of the largest opium producing countries.

The hallmark of how China is taking the countries of Central Asia under its influence was also visible in the recent meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, better known as SCO. Reiterating its stand at the SCO meeting, India strongly opposed China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India even refused to sign the paragraph endorsing the BRI in the New Delhi Declaration issued at the end of the summit. But the most worrisome for India has been the attitude of other Central Asian countries in the SCO. SCO countries strongly supported India on the issue of terrorism, separatism and extremism, but not supporting India’s stand on China’s Belt and Road Initiative project, Pakistan and Russia as well as countries like Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Supported China. The compulsion of Pakistan and Russia can be understood, but this attitude of Central Asian countries is definitely worrying for India.

Now China has also started playing a new bet in India’s neighboring Tibet. Decades ago, due to Chinese repression and aggression, the Dalai Lama along with his disciples and citizens of Tibet sought political refuge in India. Despite China’s displeasure and aggression, India always stood by the Dalai Lama. Even being fed up with the oppressive attitude of China, the Tibetan leaders are running the exiled government of Tibet from India itself.

But now, scared of India’s growing global influence and power, China has started pulling strings on the Dalai Lama and the exiled government of Tibet to surround India. The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetans, has himself admitted that China wants to approach him to resolve the Tibet issue. The Dalai Lama made a statement in Dharamshala on Saturday itself that he is always ready for talks. China should understand that the people of Tibet are very strong spiritually, they should talk to them to solve the problem of Tibet. He further added that he does not want independence for Tibet and is ready to remain a part of China. Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who is hoping to return to his homeland, cited China’s efforts, saying most importantly that China was changing and wanted to reach out to him, either formally or informally. While many leaders of the exiled government of Tibet living in India still believe that China’s oppressive policy in Tibet continues even today. Even today, China does not even allow Tibetans to keep pictures of the Dalai Lama there. Even people from other provinces are being resettled continuously in Tibet so that the demography of Tibet can be changed.

In such a situation, it is obvious that now India will have to be more alert from these nefarious conspiracies of China and will have to work on many fronts simultaneously by making a counter strategy, because whenever there is a crisis on India in international politics, India will have to face it alone. He may have to face it.

Santosh Pathak

(The author is a senior journalist and columnist.)

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