Thank you very much Dr. Agnihotri for giving me this opportunity to say a few words. Most honorable Justice Vermaji, Ambassador Guptaji, Dr. Agnihotriji, my colleague Shri Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Dr. Trikha, the Convener of Indian Core Group for the Tibet Cause, who is the convener of this Special Conference of the World Tibet Support Groups and my colleagues in the Kashag, Brothers and Sisters, I have already spoken at length on the day of opening. There is no need for me to take another chance to speak to you. But I thought a word of appreciation from my heart, not only on my own behalf but on the behalf of the six million people of Tibet, to all of you for taking such great interest and working very hard for last three days on how to support the Tibetan cause is called for. This gathering is not the Sixth Conference of International Tibet Support Groups but this is a Special Conference which was convened very hurriedly at such a short notice. In spite of that, this conference is a very well represented, with delegates from all the continents of the world. Most of the major countries of the world are represented in this gathering. This is very encouraging.
I would like to say that His Holiness always says the Tibet Support Groups are our fourth refuge. The Buddhists take three refuges, but for Tibetan Buddhists, we have fourth refuge, that is the Tibet Support Groups. You are extremely important to us. Your deliberations and your support and your non-violent consistent actions are source of strength for the people living inside Tibet and for the people in the free world working for the freedom of people inside Tibet. I must put it on record our deep sense of appreciation for your consistent efforts.
I am very much encouraged to see that this conference largely consists of young people. The Tibetan struggle is now nearing 50 years and the early generation of our supporters is advancing in age. There is a need for continuity in this consistent support, for which the participation of the younger generation is immensely important. You have shown up in such large numbers in this conference and we are encouraged by your participation.
During your deliberations, I overheard that some of the participants are bit concerned about the independence of Tibet Support Groups from the Central Tibetan Administration. I have always mentioned this in my past speeches and perhaps mentioned it in the opening day as well. I once again would like to assure you all that Central Tibetan Administration recognizes the independence of all the Tibet Support Groups. You are not created by the Central Tibetan Administration. You are not governed by the Central Tibetan Administration. You have come about completely voluntarily by your own will, by your own efforts, using your own resources. You are working all the time for the last 50 years on your own.
As a matter of principle, I believe that not only the Tibet Support Groups, even the Tibetan refugee NGOs are completely independent of the Central Tibetan Administration. Therefore no one should be concerned about the preservation of your independence. It is already there and we have never tried to encroach upon your independence. At the same time, the Central Tibetan Administration also would like to keep its own autonomy from the Tibet Support Groups. We need to recognize this reciprocity.
On the first day some of my colleagues mentioned that we do not like to be dictated by the Support Groups and the Tibetans should be free to decide for themselves. However, my administration does not subscribe to this idea. You can dictate to us, you can make suggestions, you can tell us what we are lacking in and what we are doing wrong. This is your duty to point out our weaknesses. So, therefore, we, the Central Tibetan Administration, are always open to your suggestions, your direction and your dictation. At the same time, whatever your suggestions, you should understand our limitations. All your suggestions may not be practical for us. This you should understand.
Otherwise, I always welcome your direction, your suggestions, and your advice. Let me make it very clear that as far as my administration is concerned, we do not subscribe to the idea that the decision must be taken by the Tibetans themselves. And whatever decision we have taken, you must support that. Both sides should be very clear that some of our decisions may not be suitable to be supported by you because of differences of opinion and differences of approach. This is the beauty of humanity. This is not only the concept of modern democracy but ancient Indian thought. Unity in diversity is the essence of human community. We should respect this. We should allow the differences of approach, and differences of opinion between ourselves. For that we shall have to show understanding with each other and keep our independence, while respecting the differences of opinions, and yet working together in pursuit of our common goal.
Our common goal is to enable the Tibetan people to perform their universal responsibility. This is our ultimate objective. Autonomy or freedom or independence, all these are not the final object of our efforts. We are not struggling for political power. Tibetans have a unique universal responsibility and at this moment we are unable to discharge this responsibility because of the encroachment of the PRC authorities. If we are not able to perform our responsibility then the existence of the Tibetan people cannot be justified. So for that ultimate objective, you may pursue complete independence, you may pursue autonomy or you may pursue anything. But the ultimate objective is the common goal for all of us. We need to keep this in the mind of all the Tibet Support Groups.
Tibetan struggle is not a struggle between political ideologies. We need to make it very clear that our struggle is not between communism, Marxism or capitalism. The political ideologies are made and adopted by the people. The people of Tibet may choose the political ideology or systems they may like. We are not involved in a fight between “isms” or any political ideology. This is also not a racial conflict. The people of China and the people of Tibet lived as brothers and sisters for thousands of years, helping each other. We will remain in harmony in the future as well. So this is not a conflict between the Chinese race and the Tibetan race. It is also not a power struggle of who should have the power of governing Tibet. Whosoever may rule Tibet, we have no differences. We very clearly offered that China can rule Tibet. What we talk about is the quality of rule, of how to rule the Tibetan people. So this is the core issue of our struggle. Our struggle is between truth and falsehood, between justice and injustice, between rightfulness and the opposite.
Apart from that, there is no dispute. In this spirit, His Holiness regards the unification of the Tibetan people of utmost importance and not Tibet’s political status. Therefore, if any Tibet Support Groups whose perception of Tibet is not the entirety of Tibetan people then we may not be able to work together harmoniously. Similarly if your perception of the past history which differs from us, again it will be difficult for us to work together. These two points are very important for every Tibet Support Group. Your perception of Tibet must encompass the perception of the people of Tibet, not that of a small segment. When we talk about the independence of Tibet or autonomy for Tibet, the question is which Tibet you are referring. That is most important. What kind of future is not that important; we can live together, we can work together in spite of differences in opinion.
These few things I thought needed to be clarified in order to leave no confusion regarding what the Central Tibetan Administration under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is thinking and working for. Within this context you have all the freedom and right to differ from us, criticize us. All these differences and criticisms are justifiable if your perception of Tibet and perception of Tibetan history conforms to ours.
Finally our total commitment to non-violence shall not be compromised under any circumstances. Therefore any Support Group that does not have total commitment to non-violence then we may not be able to consider such group as our friends. As our supporters you must understand that these are some of our limitations.
Finally on behalf of my administration and Tibetan people I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Core Group of India and all the participants coming from various countries, far and near, and particularly in this session, most honorable Justice Vermaji, who took time to bless us, encourage us and Ambassador Gupta ji for coming to encourage us and guide us. I am grateful to all of you and all other friends.
Thank you very much.