CHENNAI, India, 31 March 2017
With characteristic arrogance, China has warned India that it should not permit the Dalai Lama to undertake an eight-day teaching trip to Arunachal Pradesh beginning 4 April 2017.
A five-day festival is being organized by India in Arunachal Pradesh on 31 March, which will be inaugurated by the President of India. The festival would take place on the banks of the river Brahmaputra. The Dalai Lama will participate in the festival during his visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
When the news was flashed that China objected to the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, a cross-section of Indians immediately asked what right China has to make this unjustified demand.
China, which already occupies large area of Indian territory forcefully annexed after the India-Pakistan war in 1962, claims that Arunachal Pradesh belongs to it. This stand of China has already been rejected outright by India. Such claims on Arunachal Pradesh only show clearly the expansionist policy of China. It is in the same pattern of its behaviour towards other nearby countries such as Japan and the Philippines, creating conflicts and turbulence in relationships.
Chinese dams on the Bhramaputra
China is already guilty of blocking the flow of the Brahmaputra river to India and Bangladesh by constructing dams across the Brahmaputra in Tibet. China built the Zangmu dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) south of Lhasa in Tibet in 2014. Four more dams are being built on the river.
However, China has told India and Bangladesh, who are the two other users of the Brahmaputra river, that the dams will have no downstream impact. This means that India and Bangladesh will not receive water from the Brahmaputra river, which they have been getting all along. The Tsangpo river, which runs through the Tibetan heartland from west to east, becomes the Brahmaputra river within India and the Jamuna river in Bangladesh before draining into the Bay of Bengal.
Obviously, China is objecting to the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, since China is concerned that the very presence of the Dalai Lama will expose the bluff of China about its claim on Tibet which it has already occupied, and its now unjustifiable claim on Arunachal Pradesh, which is a province of India.
China protesting against the presence of the Dalai Lama in India and the Dalai Lama being invited to various conferences and meetings in India, some of which are with the participation of Government of India, is not anything new. China has been making such atrocious protests against the presence of the Dalai Lama in India at regular intervals, and India has ignored such protests. On many occasions, India has not even cared to respond to China’s protests, which obviously indicate that India is treating the protests from China with the contempt that they deserve.
India’s Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is widely respected in India. He is recognized as a spiritual leader with great quality of mind and vision. Wherever he goes in India, he is received with warmth and respect. Many Indians think of the Dalai Lama as one of their own, even though he is a Tibetan by birth.
Indians will never deny rights and privileges to the Dalai Lama. Any attempt by China with its dubious tactics to make India disown the Dalai Lama will not only be a wasteful exercise, but also would become counter-productive.
The world has not reconciled itself to China’s occupation of Tibet even after several decades. The wrongs that China has done to Tibet will haunt China for all time to come.
The Dalai Lama represents peace and harmony, and the present Chinese government represents violence and greed.
The differences are clearly obvious. China will be the loser by continuing its efforts to try to make India and the world forget the Dalai Lama.
This will never happen.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice For The Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden and working for probity in public life.
More articles by NS Venkataraman on Tibet Sun.