Thursday, June 24, 2021
Home Opinions USA's Tibetan Policy and Support Act: India needs a more assertive policy too, as...

USA’s Tibetan Policy and Support Act: India needs a more assertive policy too, as it has much more at stake

Without a more assertive policy framework from India, China's status as upper riparian and absolute control over these rivers not only gives China a chokehold on India's economy but could cost the catastrophic loss of countless human lives.

After weeks of intense negotiations between Democrats and Republicans and uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s signature on the massive spending bill, the President finally signed into law The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 on December 27, 2020. With a $2.3 trillion spending package, this bill is considered to be the largest spending bill, and the longest bill (5593 pages) ever passed by Congress. 

Among other issues, this bill contains the “Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020”. Unlike the Tibet Policy Act of 2002, the new act is substantially more comprehensive and assertive. For instance, section 13 of the Tibet Policy Act 2002 have a clause that reads: 

“The Secretary of State shall make best efforts to establish a branch office in Lhasa, Tibet, of the United States Consulate General in Chengdu, People’s Republic of China, to monitor political, economic, and cultural developments in Tibet.” 

In the Tibet Policy and Support Act of 2020, this demand is coupled with the policy statement that read: 

“The Secretary may not authorize the establishment in the United States of any additional consulate of the People’s Republic of China until a United States consulate in Lhasa, Tibet, is established under subsection.” 

For Tibetans worldwide, under the leadership of the Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan government-in-exile) and the blessing of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, this historical act is a matter of great joy and pride. In fact, ‘Tibet’ has been mentioned 130 times in these 5593 pages long bill. No other countries, except China (131 times), have been mentioned more. Other related issues, such as Uyghurs and Hong Kong, have been mentioned only 1 and 25 times, respectively.  

Succession or reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

One of the most significant insertions in the new Act of 2020 is an issue relating to the “succession or reincarnation” of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The act categorically stated that:

“decisions regarding the selection, education, and veneration of Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders are exclusively spiritual matters that should be made by the appropriate religious authorities within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and in the context of the will of practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism” and “the wishes of the 14th Dalai Lama, including any written instructions, should play a key role in the selection, education, and veneration of a future 15th Dalai Lama; and interference by the Government of the People’s Republic of China or any other government in the process of recognizing a successor or reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama and any future Dalai Lamas would represent a clear abuse of the right to religious freedom of Tibetan people.”

The act further stated that any Chinese official who directly interfered with identifying future Dalai Lama would be sanctioned. 

The act also applauded the Tibetan exile community for the practice of democracy in exile. It acknowledged the Central Tibetan Administration and Sikyong (President) as the representatives “to the greeted extent” of the aspiration of the “Tibetan diaspora” around the world. Another significant insertion to the act is section 343, i.e., Policy regarding the environment and water resources on the Tibetan Plateau. The act stated that the U.S. would encourage a regional framework on water security among riparian countries. 

The importance of Tibet for India

Throughout the recorded history of Tibet, no other civilization or country have been more grateful for Tibet than India. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, upon whom the hopes of six million Tibetan rest, often identify himself as a “Son of India.” Just like any Indian, Tibetans too will celebrate if India occupies a more prominent role on the international stage as it deserves. The biggest obstacle for India’s more prominent role on the international stage, such as becoming a permanent member UN Security Council, is accelerating China’s aggression.

The continued Chinese aggression on the Indian border region of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh has become too costly both in terms of human casualties and fiscal burden. In one of my empirical analyses, I have shown that from 1954 – 2019, the continued Chinese occupation of Tibet cost the Indian tax-payer US$ 462.8 billion (without any adjustment to inflation and exchange rate fluctuation), i.e., about US$ 7.16 billion annually. 

It is now high time that India should also adopt a more assertive stand on the Tibet issue in dealing with China. One strategy is to adopt India’s version of Tibet policy similar to the Tibet Policy and Support Act of 2020 of the US. India currently has an executive policy (not a law) on Tibetans in India called “Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy 2014.” While this policy was a significant development for Tibetans’ welfare in India, it is devoid of any substantive relevance on core issues of Tibet, that is, destructive Chinese policies in Tibet and Tibetans’ demand for freedom in Tibet.

In terms of relevance, the issues addressed in the US government’s Act, such as reincarnation of the His Holiness The Dalai Lama and environment and water resources on the Tibetan Plateau, have a far more direct implication on India than the US. Just like Tibetans, millions of Indians, particularly in states like Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, West Bengal, and Arunachal worship His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Similarly, on the Tibetan plateau’s water resources, as mentioned in the Tibet Policy and Support Act of 2020, rivers from Tibet supply fresh water to an estimated 1.8 billion people. Almost half of the water (48%) that flows from the Tibetan plateau runs directly into India. Without a more assertive policy framework from India, China’s status as upper riparian and absolute control over these rivers not only gives China a chokehold on India’s economy but could cost the catastrophic loss of countless human lives. 

It is high time that India should take a firm stand to deal with China by adopting a more assertive policy framework regarding Tibet or by affirming the illegal nature of the Chinese occupation of Tibet and recognizing Tibet as an occupied territory. Ultimately, Tibet’s freedom is India’s best long-term security.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Tsewang Rigzin
Tsewang Rigzin is a Fellow at Columbia Population Research Center and Social Policy analysis doctoral candidate at Columbia University, USA. He is the author of the book "Exile Tibetan Community: Problems and Prospects" (LTWA, 2016)

Related Articles

Trending now

YouTube video that exposed ‘farmer’ organisation’s claim about man’s death at Tikri border removed after mass reporting

OpIndia's video which contained dying declaration of Mukesh, man allegedly set on fire at by agitating 'farmers' at Tikri border has been removed by YouTube

‘We have to clap like hijras?’ AAP leader’s video insulting Brahmins and Hindu rituals goes viral

An old video where AAP leader Gopal Italia insults Satyanarayan, Bhagwad Kathas as 'useless things' has now gone viral.

Opposition woes: Congress missing in action at the Rastra Manch, Prashant Kishore meeting Sharad Pawar and much more

As per a Times Now report, Prashant Kishor is allegedly working under 'Mission Delhi' to unite people against the Modi government before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

‘It is our Dharma to help fellow Indians overcome the Covid crisis’: Nita Ambani at Reliance AGM

Speaking at the AGM, Nita Ambani stated that the Reliance Foundation has set up 116 vaccination centres across 109 cities in India and these platforms are being used for vaccination drives free of cost.

Abusive troll Kunal Kamra becomes ‘columnist’ for NYT, the perks that come when you toe Congress-left ecosystem agenda

Unknown idiots are propped up on international platforms and made famous as a reward for toeing Congress line.

Subramanian Swamy gets desperate as rumours of cabinet reshuffle gain ground: Hubris and delusions

With rumours gaining ground that there might be a cabinet shuffle on the cards, Subramanian Swamy has now started hankering

Recently Popular

‘Is your father a mali or chowkidar? I will cancel your license, H*r*m*zade’: Maneka Gandhi threatens vets in viral audios

The Indian Veterinary Association in a letter have condemned the unruly behavior and unparliamentary language used by Maneka Gandhi against animal doctors.

Former IFS officer Lakshmi M Puri sends legal notice to Congress supporter Saket Gokhale for misleading allegations against her

Alleged activist and Congress mouthpiece Saket Gokhale made baseless allegations against Lakshmi M Puri, wife of Hardeep Singh Puri

Video of a person making anti-India comments circulated on social media falsely claiming that it is the founder of Himalaya Drug Company

Muhammad Manal, the founder of HImalaya Drug Company died in 1986, and the person in the viral video is one Naqi Ahmed Nadwi

After being slammed by Bombay HC for lack of evidence, Mumbai police names Arnab Goswami as an accused in second TRP chargesheet

Republic TV had submitted before Bombay HC that Mumbai Police have deliberately not named Arnab Goswami in charge sheet to keep the investigation open

Karnataka: Muslim family kills their own daughter and her Hindu lover in front of the boy’s mother

The 19-year-old Basavaraj Madivalapaa Badiger, an autorickshaw driver at Saladahalli village, and his 18-year-old lover Davalbi Bandagisab Tambad, a resident of the neighbouring Khanapur, were allegedly murdered by the father and other family members of the girl.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

255,564FansLike
555,612FollowersFollow
24,400SubscribersSubscribe