Don’t restrain Tenzin Tsundue

The UPA government’s step to please the Chinese leader is not only shameful. It is self-defeating

It is necessary for the Indian government to ensure the safety and security of foreign dignitaries it hosts. It is also sensible, to an extent, to ensure that they are not unduly heckled and embarrassed during their trip. Neither of these, though, justifies the restrictions the Indian government has placed on Tenzin Tsundue, a Tibetan activist, ahead of the Chinese president’s visit. [via Tibet will be free]

Tenzin is a spirited protestor. But his methods are non-violent. “Non-violence is not a strategy for us” he writes, “It is a holistic way of living; it is our basic principle for life”. That should completely address concerns over President Hu’s security. And if the Indian government is that concerned that his protests may prove an eyesore for Hu and therefore an embarrassment for his hosts, then it should place perimeter restrictions that prevent Tsundue from getting into the Chinese president’s field of vision. There is no justification for any restraints that go beyond this.

Meanwhile, China itself has not shown an appreciation for its hosts’ sensitivities ahead of the trip—it has not hesitated to make it clear that its stand on the border dispute remains unchanged. So UPA government’s Nehruvian kow-towing to China’s sensibilities is as unreciprocated now as during Nehru’s own time.

That the UPA government’s foreign policy is hijacked by its Communist allies should now be clear. Owing to pressure from the Left, the UPA government declined to invite US President Bush to address a joint session of parliament. This act of ungraciousness was accompanied by the entire Left/liberal brigade making a nuisance of itself during Bush’s visit. But different rules apply for President Hu’s visit—the Communists are batting for Beijing as usual, and the government deems it necessary to repress those who are opposed to China.

The Indian government would do well to reverse the travel ban on Tenzin Tsundue. Not merely because it is the right thing to do, but also because of the message it would send to Beijing. Not because it is about Tibet. But because it is about India.

Tailpiece: The Indian media is yet to report this story.

Update: There has been a related discourse on the legal nationality of Indian born Tibetans. Here’s an earlier post on securing the future of Tibetan-Indians.

18 thoughts on “Don’t restrain Tenzin Tsundue”

  1. Sandeep,

    Thanks. In fact, I was linking to it when your comment came in.


    Heard of black holes?

  2. We are yet to hear the left parties counter the Chinese border claims.

    For the life of me, I cannot fathom why the left parties would try to invent some kind of kinship with the Chinese. There is none.

    If I were the Chinese, and if I wanted to destabilize India. I would just try and work on the extremely divisive internal policies. When the interests of the public are pigeon holed into smaller and smaller bins, there will be exactly 6 people left in India who care about Arunachal Pradesh. Buy them a soda each, and you are home.

  3. apart from denying him his fundamental right of freedom of speech…the govt of india is also denying Tsundue his Indian identity by calling him a “a Tibetan National” living in India.

  4. “The Indian media is yet to report this story.”

    Suddenly India is dictatorship. What we do to please visiting dictators. Imagine the media and left-wingers if India house arrested Iranian sponsored mullahs during Bush’s visit early this year. But now, kowtowing to the chinsese dictators, they have gone silent – the print, the TV and everyone. It is a sad day.

    It’s time to cancel dictatorial Hu Jintao’s visit.

  5. While most papers have called the Ambassador’s claim as a Gaffe (which means, is a mistake said or actioned by a company or individual, usually in a social environment), I believe the real reason is to keep India on the backfoot. Now, we spend all our time and energy in expending that Arunachal belongs to us and the Chinese meanwhile try and fullfill the real reason for coming to India, ie weaking Trade Barriers.

    China follows a Policy of first cultivating friendship (or appearing to) and then crushes whatever hope that has got buildup once its other aims are met.

    While many papers are singling peans in favour of more co-operation between India and China (sample this one ) fact is that China is more interested in knowing the weak points of every country it sees as a Competitor and seeing to it that they sweat it out in area far away from actuals.

    For India, they have kept Pakistan as a tool to keep it occupied. For Japan and South Korea, it has North Korea to keep them on their toes.

    I for one believe in the statement by George Fernandes (when he was the Defense Minister) that China is our Enemy No.1.


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  7. Brahma Chellaney puts it more clearly when he says ( “China is a country where there is no ideology. National interest and ruthless pragmatism guides this country”.

    Mohammad Salim (of CPI(M)) criticises the fact that there are people who are creating shadows over the good relations between the two countries. Thankfully this time around he wasnt blaming Modi / NDA for the mess. 🙂


  8. “China has not hesitated to make it clear that her stand on border dispute,i.e China’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh,remains unchanged”
    So what? Till 1986 Arunachal Pradesh was union territory.In 1986,the status of state was conferred upon Arunachal and now it has it’s own legislative assembly,democratically elected government,has two members of parliament in Loksabha.China is fully entitled to make clear her official stand.But over a period of time,both sides have made definite progress that has resulted in reduction of armed forces along the border,enhanced bilateral trade.Both sides are aware of the complexities involved and nobody is expecting quick solution to border dispute.
    “UPA government’s Nehruvian kowtowing to China’s sensibilities?”
    Let us face it.China is a major economic and regional power.If they are particular about protocols,nothing wrong with that.

  9. Do you think it is worth writing emails to the PM’s office telling him what one thinks of this (politely of course)? Also, is the Govt legally allowed to threaten the gentleman’s deportation? This sort of this is depressing and I am ashamed about this as a citizen.

  10. God(if i believed in the concept) damn it.
    Just WTF is wrong w. the country of my birth?

    This comment has been truncated. – Ed

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