Does India understand the importance of the Dalai Lama? – Francois Gautier

Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama

Francois GautierChina has taken over swaths of Indian territory, whether the Aksai Chin, and bits here and there in Assam, Ladakh, Sikkim or Bhutan. Then why the hell can’t India say that Tibet is a disputed territory? – Francois Gautier

On July 6, 2020, His Holiness the Dalai Lama turned 85. I scanned the entire internet looking for any mention of this extremely important event—but in vain! There was mention of the birthday of actor Ranveer Singh (who?)—But absolutely nothing about the Dalai Lama and Tibet.

Do India and the BJP government of Narendra Modi understand the extreme importance of that event? The Dalai Lama may be the last chance for India to regain a friendly border between herself and the Chinese enemy—and time is running out. You do know, I hope, that out of the 4,000 or so km of border with China, nearly 3300 belong to Tibet! Tibet was always a friendly and peaceful buffer between the two giants of Asia. When Nehru allowed China to take over this tiny nation, he committed one of his biggest blunders—and India is still paying the price for it.

The Chinese, who are most ruthless and intelligent, are just waiting for the Dalai Lama to die, to nominate their own puppet Dalai Lama, the way they named a [fake] Panchen Lama. Then it will be not only the end of the possibility of free Tibet, but from a geostrategic point of view, India will have to face in the coming decades not only a hostile border with China, without the buffer of Tibet, but also the disadvantage of China swooping down from the heights of Tibet onto India’s valleys as it did in 1962. Did you also know that according to the CIA, China has placed many of its nuclear warheads in Tibetan caves, where they escape the scrutiny of satellites and that many of them are pointed towards Indian cities? We also know that most of South Asia‘s great rivers are born in Tibet and that China is building many dams upon them, depriving India and many other countries of this precious water.

Thus the importance of a free Tibet has never been so crucial to India—especially at the time of extreme tension with China on many fronts, whether Ladakh, Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Kashmir, or even on the sea, in the Indian Ocean. But do you think that the higher bureaucrats of the External Affairs Ministry of India can understand that? No, not at all. Their minds are frozen in the Nehruvian thinking that one must compromise with China at all costs. It was so in the 50s, it was in the 60s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and it is still true unfortunately today. They have not learned that the Chinese always pretend to negotiate—while preparing for war.

Who will then grasp that the 85-year-old Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace prize winner, is India’s most powerful weapon against China? Firstly, his very name makes the Chinese shake with anger and they lose—for once—all common sense; secondly, India should respond tit for tat: China sayings are that Kashmir is a disputed territory; China claims Arunachal Pradesh; China has taken over swaths of Indian territory, whether the Aksai Chin, and bits here and there in Assam, Ladakh, Sikkim or Bhutan. Then why the hell can’t India say that Tibet is a disputed territory? Why cannot the BJP government of Narendra Modi allow for instance the Dalai Lama to do teaching in Ladakh, where he has thousands and thousands of followers – right under the nose of the Chinese? – PGurus, 7 July 2020

Francois Gautier is a journalist and author of international repute. He is the founder of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History at Pune, Maharashtra.