Tibet owes its religion to India: Lobsang Sangay

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 03, 2012 15:21 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay Monday said Tibet "owes its religion to India" and asserted that the day of reckoning for his country was not far and the desire for freedom "will live on".

Attributing the success of the Tibetan democratic experiment in-exile to Indian values and traditions, he said: "Tibet owes its religion to India and that it is owing to the proximity to India physically and spiritually that the Tibetan struggle has conformed to the tenets of ahimsa (non-violence), dialogue and reconciliation."

"Tibet's day of reckoning is not far. The desire to be free, to breathe the air of freedom and free will lives on," said Sangay, who took over as political successor to the Dalai Lama.

The Harvard-educated elected head of the Central Tibetan Administration was speaking at the Sixth Dr. K.R. Narayanan Memorial Lecture on the theme 'Democracy in Exile: The Case of Tibet' at the Jamia Millia Islamia here.

Sangay further said that the efforts at democratisation are swift and attempts were also being made to seek a negotiated solution to the Tibet issue with the Chinese government.

The last and ninth round of talks between the Dalai Lama's envoys and the Chinese was held in Beijing in January 2010.

However, Sangay lamented about the high number of self-immolation cases by Tibetans since 2009.

"At least 89 people have immolated themselves so far," said Sangay calling the situation "grim and tragic".

Sangay said that he was amazed by the Chinese reaction on the issue that blames the Tibetan leaders in-exile for these acts of protest. He suggested that a more appropriate approach would have been to ask "what is forcing the people to take such an extreme step in the first place".

On the importance of Tibet's water and ecology, not just for India but for the environment sustainability of the world, Sangay said that continued destruction of natural resources, mindless expansion in the name of development and extensive militarisation will only add to global climate worries.

The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. The Tibetan exile administration is based in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.

Some 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, over 100,000 of them in India. Over six million Tibetans live in what is now known as the Tibet Autonomous Region in China.

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