March 2018 will probably be a month that the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) cannot wait to forget. It was a terrible month for the CTA, who are the Tibetan leadership based in Dharamsala, North India, as they received bad news after bad news.
It began with the leak of Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s memo directing all Indian ministers and government officials to avoid any events related to the CTA’s much-hyped “Thank You India” campaign. This was swiftly followed by an instruction from the Indian government to relocate the “Thank You India” opening event from New Delhi’s Thyagaraja Stadium to their temple in Dharamsala, a much smaller venue that the Tibetans ordinarily use for all of their other events. They were also forced to move their annual public rally after they were banned from commemorating the March 10th Tibetan Uprising Day in Delhi. This was particularly disheartening as March 10th is one of the most significant events in the annual Tibetan calendar, as it marks the 1959 uprising in Lhasa by the Tibetans resisting the Chinese incursions.
Things did not improve with the cancellation of yet another important gathering. Lawmakers and parliamentarians from all over the democratic world were due to congregate in Delhi to discuss strategies to support the so-called Tibetan cause. Billed as a high-profile event, the meeting was going to be held in India for the first time in 24 years. However, the Indian leadership once again demonstrated that they are more interested in good relations with China, and Delhi moved swiftly to cancel the upcoming conference which had not been held since Canada hosted the last meeting in 2012.
All of this negative news that the Tibetans have received in the last month alone have come from just one source, and it just happens to be their biggest and most powerful sponsor — India. It is the CTA’s worst nightmare come true and it is apparent to everyone that Dharamsala’s hastily and badly-organized “Thank You India” campaign was nothing more than a half-hearted public relations stunt to try and stave off the inevitable conclusion of waning Indian support. There is nothing more telling than the image of Tibetans finally waving the Indian flag for the first time in 60 years. It is sad that after six decades of living on Indian soil, it was waning Indian support that finally forced the Tibetans to pick up the Indian flag in a grand show of gratitude. There is no doubt that the “Thank You India” campaign has fallen flat on its face, and the fact the CTA ever thought that a public relations stunt could woo India back into supporting them is a reflection of their immature politics.
Unfortunately, India’s politics far exceeds theirs and are more sophisticated than what the CTA assumes; it is going to take a whole lot more than some poorly-attended parade marches and lackluster flag-waving to bring them back into India’s good graces. During the downsized “Thank You India” event, the Dalai Lama himself said that Tibetans do not wish to inconvenience India but what the Tibetan leadership have failed to realize is that this understanding is not going to be enough, nor will it ever be enough, to win back India’s support, certainly not against the billion-dollar economic opportunities and geopolitical realities with China. All of this news, when put together, certainly does not augur a pleasant future for the Tibetans who are fast running out of options and friends.
The fact is that every time the Tibetan leadership meddles in Indian affairs, they inconvenience India. And so for the Tibetan leadership to respect and not inconvenience India, they must stop first protesting against China and creating diplomatic issues for the Indian leadership. Second, they have to stop all political activities in India and either become Indian citizens, go back to China or migrate somewhere else. And if they are really serious about not inconveniencing India, ultimately they must stop criticizing China and start making friends with them, and settle on something after 60 years. Stop telling Indian politicians what they should do for India in relations to Tibet because at the end of the day, the Indians do not need advice from a leadership without a country. India, with its vast resources, strong culture and seasoned politicians, will be fine without the Tibetans and without Tibetan advice, and that is the reality the CTA are now being forced to face. It is high time for everyone, Tibetans and Indians included, to move on and leave the CTA far, far behind.
Tibetans Understand and Respect India’s Inconvenience
Click to enlarge. (Source: http://www.tibetanjournal.com/tibetans-understand-respect-indias-inconvenience/)
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