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China may seek India's help in solving Tibet issue

January 14, 2008

11 Jan 2008, 2136 hrs IST,Saibal Dasgupta,TNN

Times of India

BEIJING: The Tibet issue is expected to figure in the discussions 
between officials accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and 
their Chinese counterparts during Singh's visit to Beijing beginning 
Sunday. The Chinese government might also try to find out if India 
would help it to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama, sources said.

"We regard the Tibetans living in India as a major challenge because 
they have the potential to cause trouble and draw world attention. We 
expect support from the Indian government to tackle them," a senior 
member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference told 

There is also some apprehension that the Indian government might try 
to rake up the Tibet issue, which has been generally regarded as a 
"settled issue" since the visit of Atal Behari Vajpayee as Prime 
Minister to Beijing in 2003. But the Chinese are still wary about 
India's stand on the issue.

The apprehension in Beijing was evident in the recent statement by 
Jiang Yu, spokesperson of the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs, 
expressing the hope that India will adhere to its commitment on the 
Tibet issue. He was obviously referring to speculation in certain 
circles that India might use the Tibet issue as a bargaining chip in 
dealing with the Chinese claims on the whole of Arunachal Pradesh.

"I do not think India will change its position on Tibet. It is a very 
sensitive issue for China as much as Kashmir is a sensitive issue for 
India. The 2003 agreement that took place during Vajpayee's visit is 
one of the pillars of India-China relationship," Sun Shihai, a senior 
researcher at the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies in the state-run 
think-tank, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told TNN.

The Indian government said during the visit that it recognised the 
Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) as "part of China". India also agreed 
not to allow "anti-China activities" organized by Tibetans in India. 
TAR is a much larger area than the province of Tibet and consists of 
areas from three other provinces besides Tibet.

"Dalai Lama got a lot of receptions from governments in the United 
States, Germany and other countries in 2007. It is worrying us no 
end. We are hoping the Indian government could help us deal with his 
growing influence in some way. One possible way is a positive 
statement from Prime Minister Singh on the Tibet issue," the CPPCC 
member said.

China would appreciate if Singh improved on Vajpayee's statement and 
specifically say that Tibet was a part of China instead of referring 
to the larger entity called TAR, he said. Such a statement would 
effectively weaken the campaign of the Dalai Lama, he said.
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