STATEMENT OF HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA
7 August, 2001: I regret that in spite of the clarification my office had issued yesterday regarding the comments I had made at the conference in Chennai organised by the Akhil Bharat Rachnatmak Samaj there is a great deal of speculation from various quarters about my stand on the status of Kashmir. This is to categorically state that I had always accepted the fact that the State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. I have never questioned this. I am also appreciative of the fact that the people of Jammu and Kashmir elect their government through a well-established democratic process. My main concern is putting an end to all the killings that are taking place in Jammu and Kashmir. I very strongly believe that the issue needs to be resolved through peaceful means, through discussion and dialogue. This I feel is of the utmost importance.
I have also never considered the issue of Tibet and Kashmir to be similar. I have stated this many times in the past both to Indian leaders as well as in my media interviews. The legal accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian Union could not be more different from the forceful occupation of Tibet by the Communist Chinese. I merely explained my middle-way of approach to the Tibetan issue as an example of a suitable method for solving such complicated issues, including Kashmir.
There were suggestions from certain quarters that I am ungrateful to India. I would like to make it clear here that I have in fact never lost an opportunity to express our gratitude to the people and the Government of India for their kindness to the Tibetan people. Whether it is about the strong democratic traditions rooted in this country, the importance of India in Asia as well as to the rest of the world, India’s right to be a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations, or even India’s right to be a nuclear power I have always stood up for India. My stand on these important issues during the past forty-two years should be seen in its entirety.
No invitation has been extended to the representatives of Hurriyat Conference. They indicated their interest to visit me at Dharamsala to explain their stand and I responded in my usual way that they were welcome.
The Dalai Lama