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Has India given up on Tibet?

November 16, 2007

TimesNow.com (India) 11/14/2007 9:36:45 PM

After the Dalai Lama received the US Congress' highest civilian award 
no senior political leader - or representative of the Indian govt was 
present to congratulate the Tibetan spiritual head

China's ambassador to India launched a fresh verbal attack on Tibetan 
spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The caustic nature of his comments 
drew a rather muted reaction from the govt, leading many to ask the 
question: Is India giving up on Tibet??

When asked about the relations between him and the Indian government 
earlier this month, the Dalai Lama had replied - "excellent". But 
close look a felicitation ceremony organised by the Gandhi Peace 
Foundation in New Delhi shows the truth.

After the Dalai Lama received the US Congress' highest civilian award 
no senior political leader - or representative of the Indian govt was 
present to congratulate the Tibetan spiritual head. Even Delhi Chief 
Minister Sheila Dikshit, who was to address the function, failed to 
show up at the last minute.

But Dixit and her colleagues were merely following instructions. In a 
clear move to avoid offending China a circular sent by Cabinet 
Secretary K M Chandrasekhar to all ministers and government officials 
had said "The felicitation of the Dalai Lama is not in conformity 
with Indian foreign policy and hence ministers and govt officials 
should refrain from attending."

Close on the heels of this incident comes a verbal volley of an 
unexpected scale from China's Ambassador to India.

Today, speaking to the media in the capital on the sidelines of a 
function organised by the Ministry of External Affairs, Sun Yuxi said 
"The Dalai Lama is trying to split China. We expect our friends not 
to support the Dalai Lama in political activities. The Dalai Lama 
says he is a religious leader but it's a cover."

China has raised the pitch against the Dalai Lama more so after the 
US Congress felicitated him and expects India to do the same.

Infact, when asked about China's latest verbal attack on the Dalai 
Lama and the official boycott of his felicitation, Defence Minister A 
K Antony took a cautious line saying "Tibet is a part of China, I get 
so many invitations, and so I only attend official functions."

Last month saw high profile visits to China by External Affairs 
Minister Pranab Mukherjee and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, bent on 
improving ties with China - but fulfilling India's promise to the man 
it has sheltered for 48 years is proving to be a tough balancing act 
for India.
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