India needs to align its approach with the US for advancing the religious and political rights of the Tibetans, S D Pradhan said

As China continues to nurse expansionist design, reviewing New Delhi’s Tibet policy and aligning its approach with the US is crucial, suggests Former Deputy National Security Advisor, SD Pradhan in a write up in The Times of India.

“The larger picture reveals that our border problems stem from the illegal occupation of Tibet by China. China after occupying Tibet is making assiduous efforts to expand its territories,” Pradhan writes while calling for the need to make a long-term plan to ensure Tibet gets the real self-rule.

Arguing that a review of India’s Tibet policy is crucial, he reckoned India’s distinctly palpable exasperation with continued standoff along-side lack of progress on dis-engagement on friction points other than Pangong Tso.

Noting that there has been no visible forward movement in disengagement of troops in the remaining friction points as evidenced in the 11th round of India-China military talks on 9th April, the Former Deputy NSA added that China has inducted more troops in the training areas.

“China’s long-term plans plainly suggest its intentions to replicate its experiment of the South China Sea (SCS) of changing the facts on the ground to its favour,” he observed.

An analysis of the Chinese actions suggests that China is deliberately delaying disengagement process at other places like blocking Indian patrols from bottle neck areas Gogra Post and Hot Springs Pradhan point out China’s plans are obviously to gradually stabilise this position, Pradhan stated.

Recalling, External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar’s statement that ‘the relationship is at a crossroads and which direction we go depends on whether the Chinese side would adhere to the agreements between the two countries,’ Pradhan states that over the years China has become more and more aggressive in the periphery areas.

“China has unilaterally changed the facts on the ground to assert its claim. It created artificial islands and weaponised them in the South China Sea, established the Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea and tried to grab territories in Eastern Ladakh,” he added.

Pradhan who has also served as the Chairman of India’s Joint Intelligence Committee says that Beijing is also encouraging Pakistan and Nepal to indulge in cartographic aggression against India.

To make his point, he gives three examples, Pakistan Prime Minister displaying a new map showing Islamabad sharing borders with China on the anniversary of India’s abrogation of Article 370 and Nepal releasing a map claiming Kalapani in India’s Uttarakhand state as within Kathmadu’s own territory.

Third, reportedly, China has built an entire town, replete with roads, a power plant, two CPC buildings, a communications base along with military and police posts almost 8 km inside Bhutan.

Discerning that the exiled Tibetans are getting seriously concerned over the Chinese attempts to decide the Dalai Lama’s successor and oppression of Tibetans, Pradhan recognises that a section among them now demands independence from China.

Expounding that China, since its occupation of Tibet, is pursuing repressive policies causing extreme misery to the residents, he reminisces that the decision taken at the seventh central symposium in August 2020 on Tibet was aimed at destroying the Tibetan culture and religion and crushing dissidence with a heavy hand.

Drawing attention to the change of US approach towards the Tibet Issue in the past few years, Pradhan states that the US approach now takes into account both the violation of human rights and denial of political rights to the Tibetans.

Pointing out the US Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2020 was approved to help Tibetans, he states that the Act makes it official the US policy that decisions including the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama are exclusively within the authority of the current Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders and the Tibetan people.

India needs to align its approach with the US for advancing the religious and political rights of the Tibetans, the Former Deputy National Advisor recommends.

New Delhi may have its own version of Tibetan Policy and Support Act and can appoint a Coordinator to remain in direct touch with the problems of the Tibetans, he opines.