By Tenzin Dharpo
His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the members of Indian Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata on Nov. 23, 2017. Photo- Tenzin Choejor_OHHDL
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 23: “We are not seeking independence. We want to stay with China. We want more development," Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai lama said at an event in Kolkata today, reiterating his stand to achieve “genuine autonomy” within the framework of the People’s Republic of China.
The octogenarian Tibetan leader was speaking at an interactive session organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce on the "Revival of Ancient Indian Knowledge".
"The past is past. We will have to look into the future," indicating that history of Tibet being an independent country prior to Chinese invasion can be put at the backseat moving forward. The Dalai Lama has often said that staying within China can guarantee Tibet progress in economy and development, and therefore give an equal footing in the global arena.
The Buddhist leader was however assertive in saying that the two cultures are separate and have rich cultures that are different from each other. "Tibet has a different culture and a different script. The Chinese people love their own country. We love our own country," he said.
While the ‘Middle Way Approach’ as the political stand of the Tibetan exile government has been categorically rejected by Beijing, the Tibetan leader has said that change in Chinese people’s perspective towards Tibetans are changing and may be a crucial factor in altering the status quo.
"With China joining the world, it has changed 40 per cent to 50 per cent of what it was earlier," he said.
With water sharing disputes and China’s reckless projects on Tibetan rivers an ongoing debate in downstream nations like India, the Dalai Lama said that Tibet’s environmental and ecological concerns are not an isolated cause for concern. "The ecologist call it the Third Pole. From Yangtze to Sindhu rivers, major rivers come from Tibet. Billions of lives are involved. Taking care of the Tibetan Plateau is not only good for Tibet but for billions of people," the 82 year old said.