New Delhi: India Tibet Coordination Office (ITCO), New Delhi, in collaboration with the Centre for Northeast Asian Studies, Jindal School of International Affairs, and O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, organized a daylong conference on Tibet titled “Understanding Tibet in the 21st Century” on 12 September 2023. The conference was held at the Global Auditorium of the University.
The daylong conference witnessed the participation of distinguished speakers, namely Dr. Anand Kumar, former Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University and National President of India Tibet Friendship Society (ITFS); Author Claude Arpi, Tibetologist and Distinguished Fellow, Centre of Excellence for Himalayan Studies, Shiv Nadar Institute of Eminence, Greater Noida; Tenzin Tsundue, Tibetan Activist and Writer; Dr. Lobsang Yangtso, Senior Researcher at International Tibet Network and Dhondup Wangmo, Research Fellow at the Tibet Policy Institute.
The conference began with the welcome session by Dr. Sriparna Pathak, Associate Professor, and Dr. Manoj Panigrahi, Assistant Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, JGU Sonipat.
In the opening remarks, Prof. (Dr.) Sreeram Chaulia, Dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs, highlighted the importance of the conference and the significance of Tibet in the 21st Century.
He was followed by Coordinator Thupten Rinzin from the India Tibet Coordination Office (ITCO), New Delhi, who, in his keynote address, introduced the distinguished speakers of the conference and stressed the importance of understanding the relevance of Tibet, especially among the young minds of India.
The first session of the conference, moderated by Dr. Swati Chawla, Associate Professor at Jindal School of International Affairs, was addressed by Dr. Anand Kumar, Claude Arpi and Tenzin Tsundue on the significance of India-Tibet relations with its different aspects.
During his address, Dr. Anand Kumar expressed how his fascination with Tibet developed in the aftermath of the 1962 Sino-India war, emphasizing its importance to India. He pointed out that neglecting Tibet was a historical oversight by Indian leaders, underscoring the fact that while many Indians are knowledgeable about the United Kingdom and the United States, they often lack awareness about their immediate neighbour, Tibet. Dr. Kumar emphasized that now, more than ever, it is crucial for India to engage in discussions about Tibet.
Claude Arpi delivered a presentation accompanied by a PowerPoint on the historical ties between India and Tibet spanning centuries. During his talk, he elucidated the historical connections between the two regions dating back to ancient times, delving into topics such as the Indo-Tibetan borders, the developments that occurred in Tibet following its occupation by China, and the resulting implications for India.
Tenzin Tsundue, with a presentation, highlighted the significance of India-Tibet relations with special relation to Himalayan communities from Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, sharing common cultures, language and spiritual traditions.
The second and afternoon session of the conference, moderated by Dr. Rajdeep Pakanati, Professor at Jindal School of International Affairs, was addressed by Dr. Lobsang Yangtso and Dhondup Wangmo, who spoke on the environmental and ecological aspects of Tibet.
Dr. Lobsang Yangtso delivered a presentation titled “Tibet’s Rivers and Their Relevance to India,” wherein she discussed the crucial role of major rivers originating in Tibet and flowing into India and neighbouring nations. Her presentation shed light on the exploitation of these rivers within Tibet by Chinese authorities, a matter of significant concern for both India and neighbouring countries.
Dhondup Wangmo spoke on the topic “Climate Change Impacts on Tibet and Ecological Resettlements of Tibetan Nomads” with a presentation which highlighted the ecological destruction happening in Tibet with the glaciers melting, deforestation, mining, floods and other calamities degrading the Tibetan plateau, which will have an indirect consequence to India and other neighbouring countries.
Both sessions were followed by a Q&A session with the speakers of the conference, which were very much participated and appreciated by the members of the audience.
As a token of appreciation, the speakers were felicitated with souvenirs by the organizers, i.e. Centre for Northeast Asian Studies, Jindal School of International Affairs, O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat and India Tibet Coordination Office, New Delhi.
At the conclusion, the closing remark was presented by Choney Tsering, Program Officer of ITCO New Delhi, and a vote of thanks from Rakshith Shetty, Coordinator, Centre for Northeast Asian Studies of the University.
Aside from the conference, the Tibet Museum from Dharamshala was also invited, and they showcased a photo exhibition titled “India-Tibet Relations” on campus, which was thronged by the students and faculties.
India Tibet Coordination Office, New Delhi, also distributed Tibet-related books during the conference.
-Report filed by India Tibet Coordination Office (ITCO), New Delhi