MUNDGOD, India, 9 August 2017
The bond of India and Tibet is not only as neighbouring states from ancient times, but they are strongly connected due to the emergence of Buddhism from the Indian subcontinent to the Snow Land. It’s been thousands of years that Tibetans have considered India as the land of enlightened beings, as well as India being a land which can be truly worshipped as it is the birthplace of many Buddhist scholars. Also there was a tight tie between the two nations in trade and business before Tibet was overthrown by brutal Chinese military forces. Raw materials like gold, silver, deer horn, cotton, and yak skin were transported to India from Tibet. From India silks were delivered to Tibet.
There was no army to safeguard the national boundaries, and also less then hundred people existed for security check between the doorways to the two states. A very co-operative as well as harmonious environment lived at that time that was an inspirational example to the whole world. After decolonisation of India from the British in 1947. Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru went to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on an official visit in 1954. The Five-Point Agreement, or Panchsheel Agreement, was signed by Nehru with chairman Mao which clearly stated that no trade can be active in Tibet without permission from authority of Chinese government, as well as “Tibet is part of China” was apparently stated.
Pandit Nehru agreed with the accord, as a vast land of British owned Himalayan would become part of India according to the agreement. There was no accurate map of national boundaries in protocol. But, “Tibet is part of China” was apparently visible. Another main reason why Nehru accepted the agreement was that chairman Mao influenced Nehru that British will be only vanished from Asia if British supporters of Tibet’s independence leave Tibet.
Therefore, if Tibet becomes part of China, then there will be no British in Asia. This point highly moved Jawaharlal Nehru because of India’s suffering two hundred years under the British Empire. Nehru at the time felt very proud of Indian foreign policy but when he represented it in parliament. The policy or agreement was opposed by many parliament members, including Acharya Kirpalani who said that this policy would be the main root of trouble between China and India in the future without doubt.
“Tibet is part of China” was not approved by the Indian government at the time, but Nehru himself made a terrible mistake which caused him regret in 1962. The brute force of PRC captured Tibet by extreme violence, but Pandit Nehru expressed in a press conference that Tibet is liberated by PRC at that time when millions of Tibetans are suffering under unimaginable hostility of Chinese government. In the past few decades, Central Tibetan Administration, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, and many Tibetan non-government organisations in exile supported India in the situation of conflict between China on border issues.
But the Indian government never listens to these valuable points. Recently, parliament member Ravindra Kishore Sinha said that Tibetans in exile did not help India in the harsh circumstances of conflict with China. This statement is a mere viewpoint of member rather than a standpoint of the whole parliament. “Tibetan government in exile” was renamed to “Central Tibetan Administration” due to huge pressure from Chinese government.
Tibetans also appreciated various decisions made by Indian leaders from Nehru till now, especially Indian foreign policy. Not only that, but the Tibetan refugee people also successfully preserved their unique religion of Buddha which belongs to ancient India. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and also Tibetan political leader Dr. Lobsang Sangay visited conflicted border area, which spread a huge political message to China.
In their asylum status, Tibetans can’t do much more than that. Tibetan soldiers were sent to the Bangladesh war 1975 and also the Kargil war 1999, in which they brought enormous victory to India. The present war seriousness conflict between India and China was not a dispute of these two giant nations, but it is a confrontation of Bhutan and China where India is helping Bhutan. Thus, there is no reason for Tibet to interfere in Bhutan’s internal affairs.
About the author
Karzechoekyi Gyaltsen is pursuing his Geshe degree at Drepung Loseling Monastery in Mundgod. He comments on Tibetan politics from time to time.