Central governments come and go in New Delhi but India’s instinctive chariness and reserve on the issue of Tibet still persist, despite an increasingly muscular China upping the ante against it. Tibet’s annexation has affected Indian security like no other development, giving China, for the first time under Han rule, a contiguous border with India, Bhutan and Nepal and facilitating a Sino-Pakistan strategic axis through a common land corridor.
Even as then-independent Tibet’s forcible absorption began just months after the 1949 Communist victory in China, India—despite its British-inherited extra-territorial rights in Tibet—watched silently, even opposing a discussion in the UN general assembly on the aggression. Since then, India has stayed mum on increasing Chinese repression in Tibet. But now, it is allowing itself to come under Chinese pressure on the Dalai Lama’s activities and movements within India.
Consider the recent development when the Dalai Lama attended a public event at Rashtrapati Bhavan and met President Pranab Mukherjee. The government did the right thing by permitting the Dalai Lama to participate in the event, especially since it was organized for children’s welfare by Nobel laureates, a group that includes the Dalai Lama himself.