A week after a group of parliamentarians, including Union MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar, attended a reception dinner hosted by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, the Chinese Embassy in Delhi expressed “concern” about their participation and asked them to “refrain from supporting the forces of ‘Tibetan independence'”.
In the framework of the All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet, at least six MPs crossing party lines had attended an event on December 22 at a hotel in Delhi. Among them were Union MoS for Entrepreneurship, Skills Development, Electronics and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Maneka Gandhi and KC Ramamurthy of BJP, Members of Congress Jairam Ramesh and Manish Tewari, and Sujeet Kumar of BJD. Also present was the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel.
The unusually worded letter from China, sent on Thursday by the Political Counselor at his Embassy, is being viewed as an undiplomatic move by Delhi, as foreign diplomats writing to MPs in India in this way have not happened in the recent past.
Reacting sharply to the letter, BJD’s Kumar said: “Who is the political advisor at the Chinese embassy to write to a member of Parliament from India, the largest democracy? How dare you send letters to the Indian deputies? In any case, you can raise your protest through the official channels. I think the MEA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) should take a position. “
The letter comes almost four years after the government asked “senior leaders” and “government officials” not to attend events organized by Tibetans in India, citing bilateral ties.
In the letter, political adviser Zhou Yongsheng wrote: “I have noticed that you have attended an activity organized by the so-called” All-party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet “and interacted with some members of the so-called” Tibetan Parliament in exile. ” I would like to express our concern in this regard. “
The Councilor wrote: “As is known by all, the so-called ‘Tibetan Government in Exile’ is an absolute separatist political group and an illegal organization that completely violates the Constitution and laws of China. It is not recognized by any country in the world. Tibet has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times, and issues related to Tibet are purely China’s internal affairs that do not allow foreign interference. “
The letter said that in a series of political documents, the Indian government has recognized that the Tibet Autonomous Region is part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China and reiterated that it does not allow Tibetans to engage in political activities against China.
“China firmly opposes any separatist anti-China activity carried out by the forces of” Tibetan independence “in any capacity or name in any country and opposes any form of contact by officials of any country with them,” the letter said.
Addressing MPs, Zhou wrote: “You are a high-ranking politician who knows Sino-Indian relations well. He is expected to be able to understand the sensitivity of the issue and refrain from supporting the forces of “Tibetan independence” and making contributions to the bilateral relations between China and India. “
When contacted, Chandrasekhar told The Indian Express: “I was a member of the Indo-Tibetan parliamentary forum under the chairmanship of (BJP veteran) Shanta Kumarji and was invited in the capacity. I attended dinner. “
Kumar from BJD, who is also the forum coordinator, said: “Personally speaking, I do not consider Tibet to be part of China. That is separate because the official policy of the Government of India is different. But this parliamentary forum on Tibet is to support the cause of Tibetan cultural and religious beliefs, and it is between the people of India and the Tibetan government in exile. You shouldn’t read too much politics. “
Kumar said: “The stated goals of the parliamentary forum are not to defend the independence of Tibet or anything controversial. It is mainly to build a relationship between the government in exile and the people of India due to shared history, shared civilization and ties … due to Buddhism, due to trade between Tibet and India in the past. The idea is to take advantage of those links. I think I have already received four or five letters from the Embassy. I also give them adequate answers, ”he said.
When contacted, Jairam Ramesh from Congress confirmed that he had received a letter from the Political Counselor. “When I was asked to speak (at the event), I said that I would never go to any evening functions, but I made an exception due to my deep admiration for the Buddha, my deep respect for the Dalai Lama, and my gratitude for the Tibetan role. they have contributed to the rediscovery of the Buddhist heritage of India. “
India has had a policy of constant support for the exiled leaders of Tibet. In a careful balancing act on its promised support to Tibetans as it seeks a peaceful relationship with China, India’s position has been to recognize Tibet as an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. It “continues to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the controversial border issue” with China.
Sixty years ago, around 80,000 Tibetans, along with their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, left Lhasa after a failed uprising against the communist regime and came to India.
The Tibetan exile administration, called CTA, is based in Dharamshala, where the spiritual leader also lives. Around 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, more than 100,000 of them in different parts of India. More than six million Tibetans live in Tibet.
In 2018, the Center had advised high-level ministers and bureaucrats to stay away from events of appreciation to India organized by Tibetan leaders.
The indian express had reported an official note dated February 22, 2018, advising “senior leaders” and “government officials” of the Center and states to stay away from events organized by Tibetan leaders, citing “times very delicate “in the bilateral relations in India and China.
The note was sent by then-Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to then-Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha, who issued a directive two days later.
"खाना विशेषज्ञ। जोम्बी प्रेमी। अति कफी अधिवक्ता। बियर ट्रेलब्लाजर। अप्रिय यात्रा फ्यान।"