By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, MAR. 29: An open letter from the self-proclaimed Chairman of ULFA, a group listed by India as a terrorist outfit, asking the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama to restrain talking about China in a bad light in Assam where he is due to visit next week, has all the inclinations of a larger geo-political game in the back ground, says noted India - China defense analyst and author Claude Arpi who adds, “there is no doubt China is using ULFA” to express its objections with the exiled Tibetan leader and India.
Abhizeet Asom or Abhijit Barman, the top man of United Liberation front of Assam (ULFA -I), warned the 1989 Nobel laureate that, “nothing against China will be uttered by you in private or public; because China has always been a friendly neighbor of ours and the relationship between China and Assam is truly very deep in linguistic and cultural heritage of the two nations. We won’t tolerate India’s view to be propagated from Assam’s soil.”
All the while asking the Dalai Lama in turn to limit his engagements to reviving the Buddhist heritage in Assam and “turn it (visit) to an opportunity of an ambassador of peace and something meaningful to your legacy,” the fugitive leader hiding in London goes on to say that the Dalai Lama’s decision to go to Tawang in the border state of Arunachal Pradesh despite objection from Beijing is “unwise” and even go on to escalate the situation in the area, which is claimed by China as their own.
Claude Arpi who has been a prominent and independent voice in China - Tibet – India relations told Phayul
that the letter is no doubt an over arching ask by China. “If you look at what the gentleman (Abhizeet Asom) wrote in the letter, many of the terminologies used are typically Chinese. Even the assertion that 1962 Indo-China war was caused by Indian aggression is a Chinese commentary, so there is no doubt China is using ULFA,” Arpi said.
Intelligence reports say that ULFA has been pushed as far into the Chinese territory near the Sino-Burmese border where its Commander in Chief Paresh Baruah, sentenced to death by a Bangladeshi court, is given shelter as well as training grounds for operatives in Yunnan province.
Delving further into the issue, Arpi says although both countries are working for their core interests, Beijing’s usage of the term “Dalai Lama card” compounds to “noise” and no substance as India has been consistent when it comes to treating the Dalai Lama as an “honored guest” since he came into exile on March 31, 1959 through Chuthangmu, Bomdila in India.
“Whether it is the Congress (Indian National Congress) or the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Indian government’s policy has not changed since day one in recognizing the Dalai Lama as an honored guest in India. So he can go anywhere in India and China can make noise but it is not the concern of the Indian government,” Arpi told Phayul.
The octogenarian Tibetan leader is due to begin his visit to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh from April 1. The Dalai Lama, who often describes himself as ‘Son of India,’ will give lectures at Dibrugarh University, inaugurate his memoir My Land and My People,
translated into Assamese and give teachings in Tawang. Following the letter by ULFA which seeks a sovereign Assam, all the districts in Assam have been put on high alert before the visit by the Tibetan leader, sources say.
The Tibetan leader last visited Guwahati, capital of Assam, in February 2014.