NEW DELHI: A 10-member Tibetan Parliamentary delegation following its week-long Tibet advocacy campaign in Delhi revived the All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APPFT). The campaign that began from 7 to 15 December, saw the Tibetan delegations calling upon 100 Indian lawmakers from 31 major political parties including a former Prime Minister and former Union ministers, former Speakers, a Chief Minister and former Chief Ministers and several Party leaders.
On 15 Dec, a dinner reception was organised at the Shangrila Hotel, in honor of the Indian political leaders and the formal revival of the All Party Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APPFT) being initiated with the unanimous approval of Shri Shanta Kumar, a former Union Minister and a former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh as the Convener of the Forum. 30 Indian MPs from 28 major political parties attended the Dinner Reception and extended their overwhelming support for the APPFT. Speaker Penpa Tsering, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, Representative Kungo Tempa Tsering, Tibetan Parliament members and the staff of TPPRC and ITCO attended the Dinner meeting. The Tibetan delegates held extensive discussions and interactions with the Indian leaders on Tibetan issue and the revival of the APPFT during the dinner meeting.
Earlier Speaker Penpa Tsering addressed the gathering of the Indian lawmakers on the Tibetan situation in general and the history of APPFT and the importance of its revival. Mr. Tsering further urged the Indian leaders to bolster their Tibet advocacy in the Indian Parliament and various international platforms through a revitalized APPFT Forum. This was followed by Shri Shanta Kumar addressing the gathering with an acceptance speech.
Since the time of great Indian leaders like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan, Shri M.C. Chagla, Acharya J.B. Kripalani, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhaya, Baba Saheb Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar and many others, Indian parliamentarians have vehemently raised their voice in the Indian Parliament and outside against the Chinese aggression of Tibet and its illegal occupation by China.
This massive support for Tibet culminated in the formation of All Party Parliamentary Forum for Tibet in the 1970s under the leadership of Shri M.C. Chagla. Since then besides raising the issue of Tibet in various international forums and organizing and participating in World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet (WPCT), APPFT had also successfully facilitated His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s address to the Indian Parliamentarians in the Parliament House Annexe. APPFT is revived every five years following the Lok Sabha elections and new members inducted in the Forum as required.
Former Union Minister Shri Yashwant Sinha was the former Convener of APPFT supported by leaders of various political parties as its co-convener and core committee members.
The current lobby campaign by the Tibetan Parliament was jointly coordinated and supported by the Delhi based TPPRC and ITCO.
*Report submitted by Lobsang Yeshi on behalf of the Tibetan Parliamentary Delegation