Dharamshala: In order to bring lasting peace to the border incursions and tensions, the historical status of Tibet and the historical relationship between India and Tibet must be revived said President Dr. Lobsang Sangay on Monday during a virtual discourse on the ongoing border tensions between India and China and how Tibet fits in the latest clash between the two giants.
President Dr. Sangay was speaking at a special e-session hosted by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce on the theme: ‘Inda-Tibet-China: Synergising global peace’. Other key speakers at the session include Lt. Gen. Aniruddha Chakravarty, Air Marshall RKS Shera, Members of Chamber, Members of Friends of Tribal Society, Members of Tibbat-Bharat Metri Parishad.
President Dr. Sangay said that the ongoing aggression and tension in the Galwan valley is not an isolated incident as China has recurrently provoked India in the past with the Doklam incident in 2017 and even before that 1967, war in Sikkim and in 1962 war in Arunachal Pradesh reveals the intention of China to invade India’s territory.
How can we bring peace between India and China?
“Tibet was historically a zone of peace and the border between Tibet and India was demilitarised. There was no need for an army, not even a police patrol. Tibet as the buffer zone and zone of peace assures the peace between the two countries” said, President Dr. Sangay.
He further added that ever since Tibet-India border was changed into India-China border all the tensions have come up which wasn’t there when India shared border with Tibet.
President Sangay proposed that if India recognise Tibet as the buffer zone or zone of peace then all the tensions and incursions will gradually subside.
“What is happening in Ladakh is very unfortunate. 20 Indian jawans died and we condemn any kind of violence. Such a tragedy should not happen” he added.
Speaking on India-Tibet’s historical ties, President Dr. Sangay highlighted the trade relationship between British ruled India and Tibet. A cordial trade agreement was signed which is renewed every 10 years and till 1944, there was no trade issue between India and Tibet. Then in 1954, a renewed agreement known as the Panchsheel agreement was signed which is matter-of-factly the beginning of the downfall of Tibet and the present tension between India-China.
“Panchesheel which is supposedly meant to be a treaty of peace and co-existence between India and China. The origin of Panchsheel and the implementation of the document you will learn many lessons. The treaty was supposed to guarantee trade between India and Tibet and thereby tranquility between India and Tibet changed to treachery and tension” added President Dr. Sangay.
“From the treachery to the current tension, we have to move to truce and tradition only then we can go back to trade and tranquility”.
In 1914, the Shimla convention was signed between representatives of British India and Tibet. Now at the same convention trade agreement was signed which is supposed to be renewed every 10 years. But in 1954 a renewed agreement of trade with Tibet, but with a new preface was signed. China decided that the agreement would be renewed every eight years and not 10 years. At that time, the Chinese military was already in Tibet only the full-fledged occupation was yet to take place. The eight years were over in 1962 and that year, the Sino-Indian war took place.
The Panchsheel agreement which assured trade and tranquility between India and Tibet itself had the date or the timeline for the occupation of Tibet and the war of 1962.
“The blueprint that the Chinese government used to occupy Tibet is now being used all over the world including the neighboring countries. What China is doing is simply called ‘elite-cooptation’ where they buy political leaders and it is exactly what they did with the Tibetan leaders and this could also happen to India as well” said President Dr. Lobsang Sangay.
“Chinese has already come to the border of India and border incursions are happening every year and tension is escalating. This is the expansionist strategy of China and if you truly want to understand China it is pertinent that you must first understand Tibet’s tragedy. Failing to do so, will let China continue the manipulation, maneuvering of the Chinese Communist strategy”.
Why should the people of India know about these things?
President Dr. Sangay continued that when Panchsheel was signed the Indian government was assured the liberation of Tibet will be peaceful which did not happen. In 1956, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited India to attend the 2500 anniversary of Budh Purnima his initial plan then was to stay in India but the Chinese PM Zhou Enlai visited India three times and assured then Indian leader that His Holiness must return to Tibet.
He also assured a genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people. Meanwhile, that time a major debate was taking place in the Indian parliament among MPs like Jai Prakash Narayan Ji, Ram Manohar Lohia Ji, Deendayal Upadhyay, Ambedkar Ji, and many others participated in the debate. They debated on two things-Should the Indian government cooperate with China or compete with China? It was the dominant discourse then and the discourse still continues even today.
India now must choose whether to cooperate more or compete more with China. As far as Tibet is concerned the Tibetan people have learned a great deal of lessons because, China promised Tibet peace and prosperity and in the process, Tibet ended up losing all they had. India has a vital responsibility and role to play now given the historical relationship with Tibet.