By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 30: At the 7th All India Support Groups Conference held in New Delhi on Monday, supporters from the parliament, NGOs, and human rights groups gathered to discuss questions pertaining to resolving the Sino-Tibetan conflict. MP Sujeet Kumar, Convenor to the All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APIPFT), urged fellow lawmakers in the parliament for further “cooperation in advancing the Tibetan movement”.
The CTA President Penpa Tsering said that the support from the Indian government is crucial for resolving the Sino-Tibetan dialogue. “To proactively support the Tibetan cause, the government’s intervention and intention are crucial,” he said in his address.
The Tibetan leader, however, said that the Tibetan government “understands” when India has to hold on to its diplomatic stance given its bilateral sensitivity with China, “We understand and ensure our expectations align with the reality, and we do not expect the Indian government to jeopardize their national interest in any way to support Tibet’s national interest. Whatever support is rendered to us, we are honored to welcome that.” The parliamentary forum spokesperson Kumar also said that he often faced challenges when he introduced a bill regarding Tibet; he said he was once urged to withdraw the bill due to issues of national interest.
The representative from Odisha in the Rajya Sabha informed the conference that the forum is currently in pursuit of demanding the Central Government to confer the prestigious Bharat Ratna to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. “India would be celebrating itself by honoring the Dalai Lama with the highest civilian award,” Kumar further said. Another pursuit by the forum is to invite the spiritual leader to attend a joint session of the Indian parliament when His Holiness’ health and travel schedules permit. Among other goals of the forum, Kumar said that it continues to push the Indian government to recognize the Central Tibetan Administration as the legitimate representative of Tibet.
Dr. Anand Kumar, President of India Tibet Friendship Society (ITFS), recalled the challenges while setting up the association without any help from the parliament then. “ITFS stood with the Tibetan cause and will continue to stand by with a spirit of brotherhood,” he added, urging participants at the meeting to pressure the government into taking tangible action.
Contrary to the strong messaging from MP Sujeet Kumar and ITFS President, the RSS Central Executive member and patron to Bharat Tibbat Sahyog Manch, Indresh Kumar said a moderate approach should be considered given the sensitive relationship between the two Asian countries. “We are committed to protecting everything dear to India, including Tibet. We will not tolerate any forces to destroy the sovereignty of India and the sovereignty of those dear to India,” he further remarked in his address.