Yashwant Sinha, Indian Member of Parliament and former foreign minister addressing the press at the conclusion of his three-day visit to Dharamshala on September 17, 2012. (Phayul photo)
DHARAMSHALA, September 17: A senior Indian leader, who also served as the country’s foreign minister, today expressed hope that India will make a “course correction” on its Tibet policy and stand more firmly with the Tibetan cause.
Yashwant Sinha, Member of Parliament and senior BJP leader was addressing a press conference in Dharamshala at the completion of his three-day visit to the exile Tibetan headquarters.
“I hope in future there will be course correction and India will stand more firmly in support of the Tibetan cause and tell China in very clear terms that the genocide, the ethnic cleansing, the complete destruction of the Tibetan civilization is not acceptable to India,” Sinha said.
Taking a dig at India’s China policy vis-à-vis Tibet, the former Indian foreign and finance minister noted that India has always committed itself “rightly or wrongly” to a One-China policy.
“Tibet has been a part of India’s China policy – first you decide how do you want to deal with China and then deal with Tibet. It should have been perhaps the reverse – first decide how to deal with Tibet and then deal with China.”
Sinha, who is the Chairman of All Party Indian Parliamentarian Forum for Tibet noted that the main purpose of his “long overdue” visit was to join himself with the aspirations of the Tibetan people and to demonstrate the full support of several Indian MPs for the Tibetan cause.
He said that since China committed aggression against India in 1962, the two countries have dealt with each other “almost like two nations with very serious differences, if not like two nations at war.”
Sinha revealed that in 2003 when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited China, India signed an agreement in which there was “some give and take.”
“We reiterated the One-China policy and in return they recognised Sikkim as part of Indian and opened Nathula as a trading post,” Sinha, who was then the Foreign Minister said.
Speaking about the ongoing critical situation in Tibet, heralded by the wave of self-immolations, Sinha censured China of “crossing all limits” of oppression in Tibet.
Senior Indian leader Yashwant Sinha (r) and Khenpo Sonam Tenphel (l) Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, addressing the press in Dharamshala on September 17, 2012. (Phayu photo)
“Killing someone is perhaps easier than burning oneself,” Sinha noted. “The wave of self-immolations in Tibet goes to show that all limits of oppression have been crossed in Tibet.”
He assured the Tibetans of his commitment to garner international support for Tibet, to pressure China to end its oppression in Tibet and promised to raise the issue of Tibet in the next Indian parliamentary session.
During his three-day stay, Sinha visited the Tibetan parliament to witness its ongoing session, met with Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay and his cabinet colleagues, interacted with Tibetan MPs, senior leaders in the exile administration and representatives of Tibetan NGOs.
He also spoke separately to the entire staff of the Central Tibetan Administration and reiterated the Indian parliamentarians’ and people’s “feeling of brotherhood” for the Tibetan people.
“It is the responsibility of friends like me of the Tibetan cause to co-operate with you, to join, and to share the struggle that you have waged,” Sinha said. “I have come here on behalf of my Party and All-Party Indian Parliamentarian Forum on Tibet, to tell you that the government of India’s policy may be different, dictated by geopolitical considerations, but the parliamentarians and people of India are being guided by only one feeling, the feeling of brotherhood for the people of Tibet.”
“The manner in which the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet have continued their struggle for so many decades is a tribute to that indomitable spirit of courage, faith and determination, which cannot be put out by any power on earth. There is no power on earth to put out that flame which is burning in all your hearts,” he said.