MCLEOD GANJ, India, 13 March 2018
While the Doklam issue was heating up in June 2017, the Indian media was kept busy, and that in turn kept the public busy. I also had many discussions over this issue. I remember one with two young Indian men who were saying that India is not the same 1962 India, that it has changed and become powerful. They boasted that in case of a war India could take on China easily. So I followed that thought to its logical conclusion, saying “sure, there should be a war between India and China, then we will know for sure who is more powerful.” When it came to walking the talk, the two retreated from their strong position and changed their tone, now making it seem that I was promoting war, and was against India.
The Doklam stand-off resulted from an attempt by China to extend a road into an area claimed by both China and Bhutan. I was expecting that India would stand up for itself and launch a “surgical strike”, putting an end to the confrontation. But after a military face-off and many diplomatic engagements, going on for close to three months, it all fizzled out without coming to a military conflict, as India and China agreed to withdraw their armies. (In the meantime, Indians learned what Doklam means in Tibetan — Path of the Nomads.)
China contains India
China’s road extension is a cause of concern for India because it would shorten the distance for the Chinese army to reach India’s strategically vulnerable ‘Chicken’s Neck’ area — the Siliguri Corridor, a narrow stretch of land located in the Indian state of West Bengal that connects India’s northeastern states to the rest of India.
After the situation cooled off, reports started to emerge that China had built military facilities in the very same area. But the Government of India said that the status quo at the site of last year’s face-off still held. It dismissed reports of any Chinese activities in the area.
In the competition for global player China has succeeded in containing India through diplomacy, economically, strategically, as well as outright bullying. China takes a contrary position to India wherever possible, and blocks India’s rightful places in UN councils. It is well known that China has invested heavily in the neighbouring countries of India. India’s neighbouring countries have more Chinese influence than Indian. China flexes its muscles without resistance in places such as the South China Sea, Doklam, and Aksai Chin. It complains whenever possible about anything perceived to be “anti-China”. It goes even to the extreme that due to China’s influence, Pakistan politicians have suggested that Mandarin be taught in the schools.
So China has always created problems for India, yet somehow India seems to feel that China is its friend, and that China will benefit and support India — will give business, recognition, and support. So far nothing of this has happened — in fact, the opposite.
India submits to China
Tibet is India’s best card against China, and India plays it but in a very confusing way. By volunteering the statement that Tibet is part of China, without even any pressure from China to do so, India has wasted this trump card, and received nothing in return. Yet the boundary issues have not been solved, and China doesn’t allow India to take its position on the global stage. China has made sure that all India’s neighbours are closer to it than to India.
India seems to be submitting to China more all the time. What is India trying to achieve by this? The latest sign of submission is India’s objection to the “Thank You India” event planned in Delhi by the Central Tibetan Administration. A series of events were to follow throughout the year. First the Government of India asked its officials not to attend it, and then apparently India objected to holding the opening event in Delhi at all.
Perhaps Sangay received a dressing-down from officials of MEA, when he interrupted his schedule to hurry to Delhi after India’s objection to the event. It is unclear if he was summoned by MEA or he went voluntarily to do some damage control.
This whole incident only shows a weak India, losing the contest of superiority with China, and lowering India’s image on the global stage. And on the flip side of the coin, it showed that the Government of India is not in favour of Sangay’s moves.
Why “Thank You India” now?
In 2009, Tibetans had their “Thank You India”, a sort of “Golden Jubilee”, when Tibetans marked 50 years of life in exile. The Dalai Lama, then as both the political and spiritual leader, in his “Thank You India” address said, “Overall India has given us the greatest moral and material support. Looking back over the past 50 years, we feel confident that we made the right choice when we sought refuge in India.”
Was that “Thank you” not enough? Did India ask for more? I am lost why are we doing it again. 50 years is a milestone — to do it again 10 years later seems gratuitous.
Also there is the expense. The Tibetan administration is asking for funds for their museum project. All the money that would go for (well, be wasted on) these “Thank you” events could be used for the museum project. Although, the effectiveness of this project is debatable: Whether a museum on the premises of CTA, at some distance from McLeod Ganj where most of the tourists are, would get near as many visitors as the current conveniently-located site. This is altogether another matter for discussion.
Grow up a little
One domino effect of Sangay’s superfluous actions is that now the CTA had to indefinitely postpone the World Parliamentarian’s Convention on Tibet, which had been planned to be held at the end of April in Delhi.
The Government of India has clearly signalled that they are not in favour of Sangay’s moves. The exile Cabinet led by Sangay needs to do a retrospection and learn from this experience — that some press coverage and flowery Facebook posts for a little hype don’t help anything. CTA is the hope and heart of six million Tibetans. We need to see some maturity in it.
Didn’t Sangay himself say not long ago, that an official always wants to do something big in their last term of office that people will remember him by?
About the author
Lobsang Wangyal lives in McLeod Ganj, and edits the Tibet Sun website.
More articles by Lobsang Wangyal on Tibet Sun.
I thank india from my deepest of deepest of sincereity and not in grandiose way becoz m a refuge and m least interested in putting host country in difficult situation.
Ungrateful Comments from tibetans living in west should keep their mouth shut becoz you are helping here and not མགོ་ཚོས་མ་སོང. Just wondering what happened to you ppls mind.
By the way, why is this comment box pink. Lol
Lobsang wangyal loves pink! But no offence to LGBT people though.
lobsang wangyal, well said. i totally agree with your statements or i can say i share your views.
We have to see the context in which the present development of India foreign officer order was issued. ordering not to attend Indian officials in CTA sponsor programmes to thank India..the probable development was triggered with the article in wire by phuntsok stobstan, an ex ambassador of Govt of India on the issue of how professor Samdong Rinpoche without Indian govt knowledge went to find an arrangement of HH Dalai Lama return to Tibet. he said the Indian govt is unaware of such covert act and asked what Indian Govt PLAN is in such eventualities. he seems to have no sympathy to Tibet issue. is Tibetan exile govt getting punishment for this or otherwise. or am I just guessing a wild guess but still deep within me I respect and love India and surely deserve my thanks hundred times. long live Indian Tibetan friendship. after all its land of our heart and soul ..Buddha and Buddhism.
India is the best country in the world for Tibet and Tibetans. Those Tibetan refugees in west think they are invincible of sort. India is the country we all have to be grateful for all it does for Tibetans despite its huge population with poverty. It still has magnanimity to help fund Tibetan schools, give land to cultivate and build houses, and provides 24 hours security to HH the Dalai Lama. It has its compulsions but it still takes care of Tibet. Why the writer brings every effort of Lobsang Sangay in negative light, even at the cause of harming Indian and Tibetan relations.
60 years a long time for anybody’s life even if that be a struggling one such as ours. India and it’s people have been very steadfast in their help and support. Few cases of political decisions by current dispensation in New Delhi should not dishearten our people. Having said this, I think thank you india is completely unnecessary gestures which was rebuffed by the present government of Modi. Yet, good thing this did was to expose Modi and bjp. Before this we were under the illusion that RSS n BJP were pro independence for Tibet. Now having completely exposed, Tibetan people should be careful in their political discourse; not jump into any conclusion; use derogatory words for India. Tibetan people in the west must choose their words carefully by keeping in their minds that large number of your brothers and sisters will remain in India and the people in the Himalayan belt shares their cultures and faith with us. And most importantly India is still the home to his holiness the Dalai Lama and CTA.
Just man up, and point your guns at China. I am sure India will win a war against China. There is no need to kowtow to chinese dragon by bullying Tibetan refugees and insulting our leader HH dalai lama.
Your government cited “sensitive relationship with China.” Who cares? If the india-china relationships deteriorate due to dalai lama, then let it be. China equally losses by cutting ties. India doesn’t have to be afraid of China.
Shame on you! You yourself cant lift a finger against the Chinese, in fact, ever so eager to engage and please the Chinese wherever they may be -conferences, universities, embassies, religious gatherings and hob nob etc but you want India and Modiji to challenge CPP and jeopardize India’s tense relationship with China. Just name me one country that has been so giving and hospitable to Tibetans than India. India is very lucky to have a leader like Modiji. I have great respect and admiration for his selfless service to his country and people. Under Modiji’s leadership India will continue to progress and prosper and emerge as a strong power at the global level.
Lobsang wangyal – This is not a miss Tibet show buddy. So don’t create problems with your dirty gay thoughts. Go back to Orissa and do your photography job.
@ sonkel ,
How do you know lobsang wangyal is gay? Any proof? Just because he wears pinky tight jeans doesn’t mean he is someone with * gay thoughts.
Anyway, who cares if LW is gay? LGBT people deserve equal rights. Alexdentra Mariko of dhasa is a gay. And can you seriously think LW has similar feminine appearance as Mariko who tiptoes around in high heels and thigh-gap flaunting tights.
Having arrived in USA few years ago, I discovered how corrupt Indian democracy is.
None of my friends in India dreams of living in India because it is like a cesspool of joblessness, discrimination, clamdown on human rights. They all want to go to West. What does it show?
India is not good enough for vast majority of tibetans. If India doesn’t change her policy towards tibetans, then one day, tibetans will rise up against India, and campaign for equal rights.
It is shocking that India snubbed dalai lama by refusing to partake in thank you India.
India is as powerful as China. Indian military can defeat Chinese. So why fight and dear China, stand up for Tibet, and be superpower of Asia. Modi is spineless and has no brain.
If I were Indian prime minister minister, I will visit dhasa, and help dalai lama return to Tibet. But is Narendra Modi doing anything substantial to make that happen ? That is the true test of india’a loyalty to Tibet cause and human rights.
Also, why democratic India wants to be friends with an evil dictator lead by Xi? They should fight China, or cut all ties with China to show that communism has no place in the 21st century.
So you have no problem with Western countries shunning the Dalai Lama or Mercedes apologising to China for quoting His Holiness? You are ungrateful. Tibet remained isolated for so long, not wanting to establish strong ties with the outside world, which is why nobody except India came to your aid when China annexed Tibet. Weren’t you all safe in India during the Cultural Revolution in China?
How safe are we when Indians burnt tibetan market in Manali? How respected do we feel when not a single Indian prime minister from 1960-2018 ever bothered to visit dalai lama in mcloed ganj despite being 1.5 hours of flight from Delhi?
Did India come to Tibet during chinese annexation? according to scholars, such as Tsering Shakya of University of British Columbia, India and UK were number 1 countries to stop the UN discussing Tibet. India is amongst the first to say ‘ Tibet is part of China.’ shame on India! The only country that helped us was the obscure country of El Salvador who sweated to take up Tibet issue on UN table, and stood against China.
Yes true. No need to thank India. In most democracies , you get citizenship after 5-10 years of residence, and get a whole series of rights. Eg. In cananda, USA , UK ,and Europe, tibetans get free house , welfare payment of $500 – $ monthly for survival.
But how much does Indian government give to tibetans per month? Not even $1. I am jobless in France. Without going for a single days work, I get free house and monthly allowance. Tibetan refugee children here go to school for FREE. If I get sick, hospital treatment is free, even if it costs $15,000. In tcv, you have to pay like 1000 rupees a month.
Tibetans should leave India and go to West for democracy and financial freedom and education for their children.
keep this [ill] advise for yourself. Not every Tibetan living in india is sick like you. We have land, job, business and of course enough money that we have a luxury life. You take care of yourself in poverty life style in france. Dont worry about us because we have enough to carry on with our live in india. Tibetans in india also have option of taking indian citizenship.
Do you get free medical expenses from Indian government? Do you see pathetic appeals on Facebook every month tibetans seeking 30 lakh, 100 lac rupees to pay for kidney transplant, etc? Who’s helping them? In France, the same person will be treated for free in the hospital. Shocking, right?
No. Does Indian government give welfare benefits to unemployed youths in dhasa? No. Do you get education loan for higher education? No.
Does tibetans in India get citizenship? No. Only those born before 1987.
In the west, I live happily, even without working. In India, when I don’t work, nobody gives you enough money to live. You are on your own.
In India, despite being sufficiently educated, I wasn’t able to get a job that will pay salary to live in dignity. So I moved to France for asylum. I will get more money as a sweeper in Paris than as the president of Tibet.
I never miss India, despite being born there. Dalai lama consider India the biggest friend for tibetans, more than USA, but does India reciprocate the Goodwill? No. wake up!
we don’t live on someones money – mind it. shame of yourself for living on someones money. Go learn French.
remember you are having below poverty life in france don’t forget that and don’t convert the $$ in INR lo you poor guy.
You have very low esteem about India. You really needs to reflect back on the lives of your parents. Do you think you will still exist if your parents couldn’t get to India? If India doesn’t allow Tibetans to settle in India?
You are in France because Indian government has issued you IC and RC. Do you think you can land in France if you don’t have those booklets. Be more reasonable. Whatever life you are having is due to the grace of Indian government.
If you are not getting jobs in India, it is you to blame not India. There are thousands of Tibetans who are working in India. How come they got job and not you?
All the fuss you are making here seems to be related to money and that’s why you are in France. No job and getting money from government. Are you not feeling ashamed to get those money. These are the money that hardworking french people pay to their government in form of taxes. Get a life and put that fat ass to work man.
DON’T LOOK FOR FREE STUFFS.
The current Kashag has become like an event management company. They commemorate this day or that day, and LS is always busy declaring the year of this or the year of that.
For example, LS declared the year 2014 as the year of the Dalai Lama, 2017 as Year of Campaign for Tibet, declared 12 March as Tibetan Women’s day last year, now the flop Thank you India, then soon 17 March as some kind of Exile something, 31 March as another day.
Just look at all these, and see for your self if they are worthy and what were the benefits? Sangay la, you are the most intelligent man, very creative, very innovative, you are everything. But now please stop. Don’t waste our time and resources. For the next three years, just do what the parliament tells you to do. That alone will be good enough for us.
Indian citzen lobsang wangyal don’t want to thank india..thts good start to embrace indian attitude …
Amused to see many ungrateful comments here. India has allowed the Tibetans to preserve their culture and religion in so many ways. The fact India is still hosting the Dalai Lama while your favourite Western countries are shunning him shows how India in an indirect manner refuses to submit to China. Yes, life in India does suck for you guys but guess what, it sucks for a huge number of Indians (try being a poor Dalit in India) as well. It’s funny how so many of you want India to risk the lives of its soldiers by going to war with China–quite selfish if you ask me.
There is no democracy in the world who doesn’t allow people to preserve culture. Even China allows cultural preservation and religious freedom. China only opposes loyalty to dalai lama and separation of Tibet from China.
Cultural preservation is no threat to China. In fact, singers in Tibet have sung songs for pre Sikyong lobsang sangay, karmapa lama, tai situpa, etc from no less than tsewang lhamo, sherten, lump tso. And China didn’t arrest any of them. Why aren’t those singers arrested?
Also, activist tsering woeser has Skyped with dalai lama from beijing. And China allowed it. Why?
This shows that there is freedom in Tibet for tibetans. And the level of freedom given to tibetans by China and India has no strong difference in depth or scope.
India should be ashamed.
*Chinese agent alert*
I agree with Lobsang Wangyal la. The huge expense kept for Thank you India can be used for Tibet Museum and other important projects. Also, CTA is wrong about 2018 being 60 years as all the Tibetans paid homage to the recent March 10 as 59th anniversary. Could be Dhardon Sharling’s doing as she does not know how to calculate years and age. She accepted Kalon post when she was 34 and now CTA is publicizing that 60th year anniversary when actually it is 59th.
Agree n share same mindset as lowangla. Thank you for voicing it.
Tibetans are just tools for India. Why we thank them? Why….
shame on you. remember how you got to usa? It is because of indian govt. If you are against LS you can do that but don’t create problem by your stupid comments.
He is a troll out to create discord between Indians and Tibetans. Ignore him.
No need to thank India in such a pompous way but at least show gratitude for what India has done for the Tibetans? The very fact that India is still hosting the Dalai Lama while the Westeen countries are shunning him shows how much India values the contributions the Tibetans have made to India.
That is very well stated Lobsang Wangyal la. Lobsang Sangay is now out of all his ways wasting CTA funds. He just needs limelights and during his more than 6 years tenure, he has achieved nothing at grassroot level in our community. Sangay has only loud talk and just manipulating everywhere. A true warrior’s life ends with dignity but Sangay is writting to end with humiliation, rejection, nepotism and Unjust!!!! Thanking India can be on 50 years (which we all grandly felicitated) after 75 years and 100 years, but this is fishy that he planned this year just for his usual nature of boasting and showing off!!!!! A Doctorate as he addresses himself, should rejuvenate himself wholely now!!!! Please don’t exploit and misuse the Honourable Seat!! We the public voted you as to serve our country and people not to be The Head!! We Have His Holiness Always and Ever!!!
I agree with Lobsang Wangyal and the other people who commented here.
When I heard about this big Thank you event going to happen again, right away I thought our Sikyong Lobsang Sangay’s idea who has nothing to show in terms of his achievement except himself travelling around and having photo ops with some world leaders, politicians and famous personalities. Increasingly many Indian leaders big and small and the people have come forward expressing their support for Tibetans in show of solidarity because of the injustice of Chinese occupation and also a shared Dharamic culture and spirituality. Lobsang Sangay thinks that by repeating this mantra again he can achieve something. But We have thanked India enough times and they know how we feel so this sounds really fake. All that money could be used for better purpose. Sikyong just looking to score some points and anyone can see through it. I don’t blame the Indian Govt. They have enough challenges to contend with. If you want them to take you seriously show some grit and substance.
I do not mean to kow-tow to Lobsang Wangyal as some might assume but he stole my thunder . I was thinking long ago : WHY THANK INDIA ALL THE TIME?
It is a two way street. Sure, there are many Tibetans living in the edges of India. These were no fertile land offered but the first generations toiled day and night to create these unwanted lands given to Tibetans in the Tribal Basins of India. Local Indians have gained a lot from the settled Tibetans. When Tibetans started emigrating to the west, they were sending foreign currencies to their loved ones generating foreign exchange for India. Why Thank every single time when there is a meeting of sorts. Isn’t it natural that a neighboring country has no choice but to take in the population when there is some sort of turmoil in its corridor?
On top of that, what about NEFA area that used to be Tibet’s?
India had NO guts to stand up to China. Thus, it declared Tibet as part of China. If that is the case, then why should we thank India? Thanks for Nothing, I say.
Honestly, I feel like we should all return to Tibet and let China deal with India so they can say, “We wish we treated them a little better when they were in our country.”
Though I have strongly supported the Sikyong, mind you the Sikyong of CTA and not the individual holding the post, in PT episode, here I am fully behind Mr. Lobsang Wangyal. Why really was there a need to do organise as grand as this when the same has been done just 10 years back? Why do we put our host nation in so much inconvenience when their relationship with their super power is going through a fragile and hostile period? As a Tibetan it is very easy for us to say India has cowed down to the hostility of China but why should India put their nation and its people to such a great risk for the sake of us Tibetans? Government of India’s first responsibility is towards their own people. We should show our gratitude towards India by not putting them in awkward situation. All these things that has been going on during the past few days could have been easily avoided. It has also dragged the name of His Holiness into this controversy. Every news channel refers to this as an event run by the administration under His Holiness. Did Lobsang Sangay discuss this even once with HH or with officials at MEA GOI? I think this is more to garner some attention and publicity for himself rather than anything else.
Lobsang Wangyal is right! The irony in this situation is our Sikyong wants to thank India but no Indian wants it! Perhaps our Sikyong should thank his local dharamshala milk-man/dudhwalla, vegetable sellers/sabjiwalla and taxiwallas!
A bold leader ventures into areas lesser leaders hesitate to tread. Consequently, at times there’s a price to pay. But then no venture no gain.
In any case #HINDSIGHT is always 20/20, if not 50/50.
That’s exactly what i was thinking also… wastage of money, time and energy… and on top of this, humiliation from Indian govt. A good lesson, at least.
Hats off to lobsang wangyal lak
If India is power, she should prove it by defeating China in a great sincerely war.