Allow them to March to Tibet

India should have allowed Tibetan refugees to approach the border

Over a hundred Tibetan refugees, led by the indefatigable Tenzin Tsundue wanted to March to Tibet this week. Indian authorities stopped them at Dehra Bridge, not too far away from Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile. The only reason for this was to save the Chinese government from the embarassment of having to deal with the situation (most likely, having to turn them back).

This was a bad move.

Not because it prevented a bunch of peaceful demonstrators from protesting. But because it should not have spared the Chinese government from potential embarrassment. Legally, there’s no reason to prevent refugees from going back to their home country. It should have been up to the Chinese government to allow them to enter, and march to Lhasa, or to turn them back. Such a move would not have violated any of India’s stated positions on the issue of Tibet’s independence.

The Indian government is probably under the impression that stopping the march will be interpreted as a favour by China. Calling it back, though, is totally another story. Moreover, to prevent a favour from being seen as an entitlement, it is necessary sometimes not to do the favour.

Related Link: A saffron revolution of sorts has begun, inside Tibet.

11 thoughts on “Allow them to March to Tibet”

  1. This decision by the Indian government is foolish and misguided. A ready propaganda victory is being handed to us on a platter. Yet, we are actually deploying manpower and resources against it?! It really does beggar belief.

    This is the perfect opportunity for India to highlight her warm, fuzzy pro-human rights credentials in stark contrast to Beijing’s blanket repression of Uighur & Tibetan seperatist movements. The Olympics is China’s “coming-out” ceremony and her legitimation in the eyes of the West…we have to strike now and help bring these issues in the limelight.

    Nitin, I like what you say about “calling back the favour”. It ain’t happenin. China will always see us as a rival and never as an ally. Let us never forget the lesson of 1962.

  2. this is very bad….we have to help then to free tibet…tibet is thr countery and they have to march and we have to let them march

    vivek sharda
    joginder nagar
    himachal pardesh

  3. Vijay,

    I disagree with Mr Raman’s piece to the extent that he says we have to “stay outside the new great game”. We can’t, for the simple reason that we are already in it, like it or not. But I agree with him that we shouldn’t necessarily jump on the same policy plank as the US. It’s all very well to argue for Tibetan independence when you are half a continent away, it’s quite another when your troops are eyeballing each other at the border.

    But there are two extreme positions. There is considerable ambit for India to take positions between these two extremes—one that signals to Beijing that India’s positions can’t be taken for granted. It must be made to know that it remains an issue of quid pro quo.

  4. It’s sad to see our government doing the same thing to Tibetans that the British did to us sixty years ago. It’s sad to see that people are able to protest over Jodha Akbar, but not be able to protest for independence. Ah! the perils of Democracy!!

  5. I didnt know such protests could be held in Tibet at all. Looks like atleast in some minds ,even in Tibet proper, as compared to the scores of Tibetans living in India, the Free Tibet Dream lives and that is good. Revelation to me, really.

  6. Its a shame nitin! we shud ahve shown some spine..

    There, Tibet is struggling again and any sane country in our position- considering China’s behavior, attitude & past shud only act one way- support Tibet and embarrass China heavily..if possible drum up support of the west and do all that is possible to restore Tibet, the good old Tibet, that is!
    Tibet serves us lotsa good and most importantly, strategically as a buffer between the undependable China..Its also one of the very rare non violent struggles in the world and who else other than India to support that??
    Whats also ignored and can impact us more is China is committing a big environmental disaster there..add to that the control China will get on most of our rivers of north India!
    and here we are shamelessly looking the other side and ignoring a great country’s struggle..we deserve the worst from China and all other neighbours in future just for this betrayal..

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