16 July 2019
Dharamsala: For Tibetans in exile, the Indian government and people of India have done a lot for Tibet. Even Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama calls himself a "son of India".
However, they say if the people in Tibet were to get more autonomy within the Chinese constitution it could be achieved only through the political support of India and its people.
"China has occupied Tibet and we expect India has the only legitimacy and credibility to speak about Tibet," a senior Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) functionary told IANS on Tuesday.
"It is due to India's consistent generosity and kindness, we, the people in exile, have been able to preserve our ancient cultural heritage in exile," he added.
Amidst the tensions with China last year, the Indian government was reported to have cautioned its senior officials to stay away from events aimed at marking the start of the Dalai Lama's 60th year of exile.
After cancelling events in the national capital, the Tibetan government-in-exile started pan-India "Year of Gratitude" programmes here.
The Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet to India in March 1959.
After the cancellation of events in the national capital, the Dalai Lama, in an interview to CNN News18, had said he "doesn't care about how Chinese pressure forced the cancellation of the events of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Delhi".
He said it was more about "how you feel for Tibetans and how Tibetans feel for India".
Expressing gratitude to his followers, the Dalai Lama in a statement on July 10 said: "I am whole-heartedly committed to reviving an appreciation of ancient Indian knowledge among young Indians today."
On his return to his homeland, an optimist Dalai Lama says, "Yes".
"I remain optimistic that I will be able to return to Tibet. China is in the process of changing," a post on his website quoting the Dalai Lama said.
"If you compare China today to 10 or 20 years ago, there is tremendous change. China is no longer isolated. It is part of the world community. Global interdependence, especially in terms of economics and environment making it impossible for nations to remain isolated.
"Besides, I am not seeking separation from China. I am committed to my middle-way approach whereby Tibet remains within the People's Republic of China enjoying a high degree of self-rule or autonomy," he added.
Though living in exile in India for over half a century, the longing to see their homeland has not waned among the Tibetan residents in this north Indian hill town.
"I am keen to set foot on the soil that I left decades ago," said Tenzin Namgyal, an octogenarian living here since the 1960s.
Central Tibetan Administration President Lobsang Sangay on Friday greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his victory in the Lok Sabha elections.
But Tibetan activist and poet Tenzin Tsundue, who is born and brought up in India, believes that India has never been in superior position to counter China on Tibet.
"What India has been able to do was protect its interests quietly until Doklam, that's when India stood the ground firmly," he said.
Sixty years ago, some 80,000 Tibetans, along with their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, left Lhasa after a failed uprising against the Communist rule over Tibet and fled to India.
The Tibetan exile administration, called the CTA, is based in this northern Indian hill town, where the spiritual leader also lives.