Dharamshala: Sikyong Penpa Tsering has embarked on a four-day Dharmashala-wide assessment visit of the Tibetan community, schools and institutions on Monday with a key focus on reviewing their concerns and requirements. This visit comes at the helm of the commitment reiterated by Sikyong shortly after assuming office to visit and meet members of the Tibetan community in exile at least twice during his tenure.
Accompanied by Additional Secretary Tenzin Norbu of Home and TSO Kunchok Migmar, Sikyong begins his first visit to Upper TCV School where he was taken on an extensive tour of the campus by the school’s president Sonam Sichoe, director Tsultrim Dorjee and principal Ngawang Lhamo.
Sikyong next visited the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and took an inspection tour of the institute’s museum, research section and hostels.
During both visits, Sikyong reiterated the dual objectives of the 16th Kashag – resolving the Sino-Tibet conflict and mitigating the welfare concerns and challenges in exile while apprising the gathering about the 16th Kashag’s Vision Paper released in April this year. He detailed the content of the vision paper emphasising why the resolution of the Sino-Tibet conflict was essential not just for the Tibetans but for India and South Asia to retain geo-political stability with China. He further explained the historical evidence backed by renowned researcher Michael van Walt van Praag and Chinese Prof. Lau, an expert in the history of imperial China, both of whom demonstrated that Tibet was never a part of China but an independent state.
While the Chinese government remains perpetual in their hardline policies and denies accountability for the ongoing persecution of Tibetans in Tibet, Sikyong emphasised communal harmony and unity in exile. He advised the Tibetans to digress from divisive activity that may cause a rift in the community and could potentially put the Tibetan cause in jeopardy.
When asked about Kashag’s housing and land allotment project for beneficiaries who could not be facilitated in the Tibetan refugee settlements and had temporarily settled outside the jurisdictions of the Department of Home, Sikyong said his administration prioritises their needs and mentioned the ongoing allocation of the housing project in southern Tibetan settlements if the beneficiaries are willing to relocate there. Sikyong also added that the housing and monetary aid provided shall differ depending on the location and financial condition of the beneficiaries.
In the afternoon, Sikyong visited Jampaling Old Age Home and Gaden Choeling Nunnery. He spoke to the heads of the institutions and listened to the concerns for further review by the Kashag.