In a potentially provocative statement, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Thursday said that Tibet will weigh on China’s mind in the event of any conflict with India as handling both simultaneously would not be an “easy” task for Beijing.
Though the Dalai Lama played down the possibility of an Indo-China military conflict suggesting that the situation inside Tibet mitigates such an eventuality, he conceded that China’s reaction to his Arunachal visit was unusual at times.
“I asked Indian authorities concerned before the visit and they said go ahead…some reaction from the Chinese side was really unusual,” the Dalai Lama said at an event in New Delhi.
He, however, underlined that since India is gaining military power, the only option for China was “compromise”.
“India is not a small country. It is gaining military power. So the only thing is compromise. The Chinese have to think about the situation inside Tibet when it comes to conflict with India,” the Dalai Lama said.
He, however, sidestepped a direct response to a query on China renaming six places of Arunachal, saying places in Tibet have also been renamed, mostly because “they (the Chinese) could not pronounce them properly.”
The Dalai Lama, who fled a Chinese state crackdown in Lhasa and took shelter in India in 1959, also needled China on his nine-day-long trip to the north-eastern state, saying “fortunately, while I was in Tawang, no intrusion took place.”
He stressed the need to differentiate between the Chinese people and the Communist establishment of the country, which he described as a “totalitarian” dispensation that has “failed to crush the Tibetan spirit”.
He said the Chinese people will be able to judge the situation if they are made aware of the “reality” of the Tibet dispute.
The Dalai Lama, who China considers as one of its arch- enemies, said he would have probably turned into an “orthodox Lama” had he not escaped “Chinese suppression”.
Asked about the 11th Panchen Lama, chosen by him, he said, “Some say he is no longer there. Some say he is alive.”
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, a six-year old boy recognised by the Dalai Lama in 1995 as the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet has been missing for over 22 years.
Declaring his case as an “enforced disappearance”, the United Nations’ Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances had in April 2011 held China responsible for his disappearance. China has denied any involvement in his disappearance.
The Dalai Lama was awarded the Professor ML Sondhi Prize for International Politics 2016 at the event.
Arun Shourie, a veteran journalist and minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, and former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh were present at the event.
Mansingh said India’s stout defence of the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal trip, in early April, was a “rare affirmation” of the country’s sovereignty.