In what seems to be a beginning of dialogue between a retired Indian Army General and an exiled-born Tibetan activist, Aadi Achint of DEF Talks invited Lt Gen Ravi Shankar and Tsering Passang on his show. They candidly discussed about Tibet, India and China.
Lt Gen Ravi Shankar is a retired Indian Army General. He is also an author and expert on Geo-political affairs.
Tsering Passang is the Founder and Chairman of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM).
Soon after Tibet was invaded by Mao’s PLA troops, India and China came into direct contact on the Himalayan borders. These two Asian giants, with one-third of the world’s total populations, waged several wars since the 1960s. There is ongoing tension on the borders where both sides have deployed tens of thousands of armed personnel and military installations.
India is home to the Tibetan Government in Exile (officially known as the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala, northern India). Dharamsala is also home to the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, since 1960. Some 80,000 Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama into exile exactly 63 years ago this month. The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees stepped into Indian soil, via Tawang, north-eastern frontier, on 31st March 1959.
The Tibetan Government in Exile seeks dialogue with the Chinese leadership in Beijing to find ways to secure a lasting political resolution to the China-Tibet conflict. But, so far Beijing has not responded favourably. Like many Tibetans, Tsering Passang believes that they needed to keep the flame of Tibetan freedom struggle alive until an opportunity arises.
Update: Chinese Foreign Minister in Nepal and Tibetans feared being arrested
Tibetans in Tibet continue to experience severe travel restrictions in their own homelands. For example, Tibetans living in Kham (eastern Tibet) cannot travel to Lhasa (central Tibet) without a special permit issued by the Chinese authorities. Likewise, Tibetans in central Tibetan cannot travel to other parts of Tibet without special permits. However, any Han Chinese from any part of mainland China can travel freely across the Tibetan plateau with no requirements of any paperwork. Moreover, the Chinese authorities stopped issuing passports to Tibetans since 2012 to curb their foreign travel. This is the current reality for Tibetans in China’s occupied Tibet.
Meanwhile, Tibetans in Nepal face restriction on their movement and public gatherings. This is because the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is undertaking a 3-day State Visit to Nepal from 25th to 27th March. Over 10,000 Tibetan refugees live in Nepal. Notices were issued to avoid public gatherings and restrict their mobility during these three days. Local officials issued this caution to Tibetans to avoid being arrested by the police.
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