By Tenzin Dharpo
Indian PM Modi and Exile Tibetan government President Sangay. file
DHARAMSHALA, May 30: The Indian Prime Minister who is fresh off of a massive win in the Indian Lok Sabha elections has done a U-turn by not inviting exile Tibetan government’s President to the swearing in ceremony due to be held later today, in a bid to not anger Beijing.
The President of the exile Tibetan government, known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay’s absence today at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi marks a stark contrast to 2014 when the elected Tibetan leader was seated in the former rows at the ceremony when PM Modi was sworn into office the first time around.
The invitation to Dr. Sangay in May 2014 drew strong objection from the Chinese government who lodged an official protest censuring New Delhi’s disregard for the so-called ‘One-China policy’. Many said at the time that the invite was posturing at most, of Modi’s intent to India’s neighbor and biggest rivals both in Asia and global arenas.
The New Delhi-Beijing relations post the Doklam stand off and Wuhan summit has meant that India has given a cold shoulder to the exile Tibetan set up, thereby taking a step back in using the much-touted ‘Tibet card’. The shift in policy has markedly been seen on the ground with New Delhi issuing an advisory to senior leaders to avoid His Holiness the Dalai Lama or pushing the CTA to shift the “thank you India” ceremony from New Delhi to Dharamshala last year.
The head of the Tibetan polity who extended pleasantries to PM Modi on his win, however may have anticipated the snub. Days after Modi’s historic election win, Sangay flew to the United States and is scheduled to return on June 5 to India next week.