By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, July 28: The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday met with the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dongchup Ngodup in New Delhi, according to an anonymous State Department official. The brief meeting between the officials in Delhi is the latest high profile contact between the US and Tibetan officials since His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with President Barack Obama in 2016.
“The Dalai Lama obviously is a globally revered spiritual leader and so the gesture was gratefully received and appreciated,” the official told Reuters on the meeting with the CTA former Cabinet minister (Kalon). The US State of Secretary also met with the Director of Tibet House in Delhi, Geshe Dorji Damdul, at a meeting along with other civil society heads. The changing shift in US policy on China has marked growing calls from US lawmakers to end human rights violations in Tibet, East Turkestan among others, most recently by a bipartisan group of MPs pressing for a diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics on Tuesday.
Blinken’s visit is the first official visit of a high ranking diplomat from the Biden administration to India. During the meeting with the Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Wednesday, the two nations discussed Covid-19 vaccination policy and human rights records of both the countries, among other important geopolitical topics including the QUAD alliance, a security group including Australia and Japan, which has angered China in the past. “For groups of countries to work together is not strange…. People need to get over the idea that somehow other countries doing things is directed against them,” Jaishankar told the press conference.
Secretary of State Blinken discussed the importance of the relationship between US and India as he addressed the civil society group, “The Indian people and the American people believe in human dignity and equality of opportunity, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms including freedom of religion and belief . . . these are the fundamental tenets of democracies like ours. . . And of course, both of our democracies are works in progress. As friends we talk about that.”