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On Dalai Lama’s 85th Birthday, Is It Time For India To Reset ‘One China’ Policy?

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As the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama celebrates his 85th birthday, there is a debate amongst experts whether India should reset its ‘One China’ policy. The discussions began after a host of Indian politicians sent wishes to His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama in the midst of the feud with China. 

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The ‘One China’ policy is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government. Under the policy, countries recognise and have formal ties with China rather Taiwan and consider disputed territories such as Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong an inseparable part of China.

For years, India has maintained a low profile when it comes to Tibetan politics and gone at lengths to ensure that the ‘One China’ policy is not violated. In 2018, the Government of India ordered its officials to stay away from a rally marking 60 years of Dalai Lama in India.

Tibet has been a bone of contention between New Delhi and Beijing since 1959 when Dalai Lama escaped to Assam after a failed revolt against the Chinese. After India gave him refuge and allowed an exiled Tibetan government to operate from Dharamsala, China has viewed India with suspicion and blamed New Delhi for supporting anti-China activities.

According to experts at EurAsian Times, the fact that Indian politicians today extended wishes to Dalai Lama mark a major departure from India’s policy from two years ago.

Birthday greetings were sent by Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Pema Khandu, chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, RK Mathur, the lieutenant governor of Ladakh.

India should make Tibet a Key Issue

Speaking to Economic Times, Lobsang Sangay, President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said that India should make Tibet one of the key issues in Sino-India policies. Similar views are shared by Indian experts who believe it is time India re-assessed its ‘one China’ policy.

The 51-year old spoke about the strategic significance of Tibet — historically, geopolitically, culturally and ecologically as Tibet is the water tower of Asia and stressed on the importance of Tibet in being part of Indian policies with regards to China.

India is home to the largest Tibetan population in exile and has always found support from the community whenever New Delhi has clashed with Beijing.

Recently, Indian-Americans, Tibetan-Americans and Taiwanese-Americans took to the streets in New York to protest against increased Chinese aggression in the midst of a global pandemic. The group held placards of “Boycott China” and “Stop Chinese Abuse” as they shouted slogans against the country.

India is not the only country at the receiving end of Chinese aggression. Beijing has also clashed with Bhutan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and the United States.

The Sino-Indian dispute in Ladakh seems to have cooled down after both countries retreated and established a 4-kilometre no-man zone earlier today. The dispute with China in Ladakh has been going on since the first week of June and so far has resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and unconfirmed numbers on the Chinese side.

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