Modi: Tibet and China policy

Narendra Modi’s challenge in foreign policy will undoubtedly lie West and North of India’s borders, however the main focus of his statesmanship and vision will certainly be based on how he deals with China. Undoubtedly the biggest Foreign Policy disaster India faced was Nehru ignoring Sardar Patel and allowing China a free reign on Tibet. Though highly downplayed in the Indian media, the magnanimity of the Nehruvian blunder on Tibet is so huge that it is inevitable, that with Modi’s arrival there will soon be bitter discourse on this rusty chapter. The stance Modi takes will either elevate him to the level of Sardar Patel or more, or mark him as ordinary visionary, certainly as far as FP issues go. A further hurdle in that effort to correct past blunders, is that he will get little support from established Foreign policy mandarins schooled and regurgitated in the Nehruvian school of thought.

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There were many lies that the Nehruvian blunders peddled our distraught generations post the traumatic independence period and one was falsely endorsing generations that China was our neighbor and not Tibet. An institutionalized lie that allowed China to brazenly link up Xinjiang through Aksai Chin, link up Pakistan and China through Kashmir without much of outrage in a country ravaged and emerging out of colonial grasp . Even though these links were brazenly through territory that rightfully belonged to us, yet these too were consequential to a bigger blunder, that of denying and cutting the umbilical cord that bound two very Dharmic souled nations together for a millenia and letting sacred Dharmic soil be over run by forces completely inimical to Dharma and its ethics. Worse, Nehru without a protest allowed them to overrun even the Holiest of Holy spots for hundreds of millions of Dharmics: Shiv Bhoomi at Kailash and Mansarover. This spot for many Dharmics is the holy abode of none other than Lord Shiva. The belief that he sits there in meditation. Almost every Dharmic in India has a picture of Shiva in meditation at Kailash-Mansarover at his or her home. Nehru passed all that to the atheistic Han Maoist guerrilla who never ever had any link to this region even by the remotest stretch. Sadly today when Dharmics want to visit the site, they have to apply for a visa to Beijing. This region happens also to host most of all major river systems that serve the Indian subcontinent and the rest of SE Asia. In abandoning our allegiance to Dharma, we also ended abandoning crucial water resources to an alien Han that with haste is working to divert these very holy resources to their mainland use at our expense.

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Not happy being possessed of territory almost the size of India itself, China made claims all along what was essentially an unguarded border for millennia and deep into India. With a free Tibet we would have always had the same understanding we have with Bhutan or Nepal. Minimal border controls, maximum freedom and autonomy for local culture as long as pilgrimages were unhindered and minimal controls for Dharmic citizenry of both countries. With a Maoist totalitarian regime on the North and a Islamic totalitarian one on the West, Nehruvians needlessly provided physical nexus and proximity to both these countries and that too at the expense of our own troops and the blood of Dharmic kin across in the North. A large percentage of the population fled fascist jackboots including their revered leader HH Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Govt in Exile was formed in Mussoorie and now presently based in Dharmasala. They elect their PM in accordance with democratic international rules and by all ethic truly should be the legitimate recognized Governing body of Tibet.

While on coming to power it may be an almost impossible task for Modi to undo the damage which the Nehruvians and to some extent Vajpayee himself has done on the Tibetan issue, there are a few basic steps which are possible and will be suggested and analyzed in this post:

  1. Keeping discourse with China polite minus rhetoric: This is essential as what we are going to ask them will seem like asking the moon of them, but then the best and most reasonable chance we have at succeeding is asking them in the first place and doing so with a straight face and backing it up with hard reason and fact.

  2. Understanding that irrespective of China making Arunachal disputed, we can make Kailash-Mansarover, Aksai and the whole of Tibet disputed. With very valid backing of fact and international support. Simply put, there is no harm in politely making more territory on that side of the LAC disputed. We are not going to war, only making an official claim. 70 years China has harassed us with disputed areas, time we repay them with the Truth and tell them what we want too.

  3. Understanding that the original inhabitants have real claim to resources and governance in territories in accordance with International law. And the inhabitants of Tibet revere HH the Dalai Lama and would like him the Spiritual head and the Govt in Exile the rightful claimants of power in Tibet.

  4. Recognition of the Tibetan Govt in Exile as representing the legitimate and original Tibetan interests. And if disputed conducting an independently verified legitimate secret ballot poll of the Tibetan people.

  5. Understanding with the Tibetan Govt in Exile and Nepal that the first claim with China will be freeing up of the Kailash-Mansarover region. That India-Nepal-Tibet alone have Dharmic rights to manage and govern pilgrimage and resources on this holy of holiest spots. Diplomacy should obtain relevant agreements with these relevant parties and with a straight face approach China, UN, EU and every other nation that we stake a direct claim to the KM region along with the legitimate Tibetan’s authority and Nepal. We must say we are ready to talk to the Han and work on a framework of withdrawal from this region. It is obvious they will not retreat. But making the point and marking the area as disputed is winning more than half the battle.

  6. Put as official policy India’s stance that the people of Tibet must decide their future. Simply put a plebiscite to determine whether North Tibet wants to be a part of China or Independent must be Official Indian policy. We continue to be polite and do business but must not hesitate to state so and that we recognize the Tibetan Govt in Exile as the Official representation of the Tibetan people.

  7. Agreement with the Tibetan Govt in Exile, that in future to protect Tibet, it’s culture, it’s resources, India will follow a similar process / equation as with Bhutan/ Nepal. That Tibet will not allow it’s soil to be used ever again against India. If need be it must primarily allow India to supplement military logistics needed for it’s protection and not USA, Japan or EU.

  8. Agreements drawn with EU, Japan, USA, Canada, SE Asian countries that India will do all the above and that they must support India within a stipulated period. India though must have the mental strength to stand up alone if need be on these issues and external support be considered a bonus. However the fact is if India goes the hog on Tibet most of these nations will openly come out in support of Tibet.

  9.           The First Head of State Modi should officially meet must be the Tibetan PM of the Govt in Exile Mr Lobsang Sangay along with HH The Dalai Lama.This will be the finest Foreign Policy message that Modi can send to not just China  but to the world. 

Fa Hseins account of travel through Tibet clearly indicates India’s ancient Dharmic link that too in the Lop Nor region. No Han presence.

None of these changes requires a war to be fought, trade to be cut, ties to be broken. All must be done with a straight face and the conviction that only Truth and the soul of this country delivers. Meeting the PM in Exile along with HH The Dalai Lama on his first official meeting is an important step in consolidating his faith in international law and countries that want to chart a goal in consonance with India’s own value systems. The charter for the Tibetan Govt in Exile is very much in synchronicity not just to International norms but also with the Indian constitution and as follows:

 To provide to all Tibetans equality before the law and enjoyment of rights and freedom without discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, language and social origin. among the three organs of the government: judiciary, legislature and executive.

Even starting with simple instructions to refer to our Northern borders as Indo-Tibetan and not Indo-Chinese given to our diplomats and press will have an effect in nullifying the negativity of the  Nehruvian discourse on Tibet. Meeting up wtih HH DL like Modi meets up Shankaracharya’s, Sikh or Jain Gurus and leaders must be par for the course. These are not difficult to implement and will go a long way giving India reach and leverage in dealing with China with it’s interests in mind. It is important PM Narendra Modi takes the correct steps even if in limited measures towards the Tibetan issue, as every major blunder including wrt Pakstan, Kashmir stemmed from the blunders in Tibet. Modi also must keep the powder keg dry and meet up with top commanders and be briefed on all available security measures and threats. Importantly Modi must never cower down to the Chinese on the Tibetan front. The Chinese will back up when Dharma exerts.



9 thoughts on “Modi: Tibet and China policy

  1. I’m an agnostic and have my doubts about Modi but this writeup needs to be read by whoever the future PM will be. A practical course of action for our Tibetan brethren is absolutely necessary.

  2. Many thanks for your feedback Parmeet. Any Indian PM cannot distance himself from the ethos of this country. Nehru’s distance from this Dharmic ethos led to our failure wrt our Tibetan brethren. The distance and repugnance for our Dharmic ethos shown by some of Nehru’s men has been such that people like Mani Aiyer were said to be collecting funds for Chinese soldiers during 62. Communists in WB (Including the late Jyoti Basu) were known to have given atrocious statements. Once that disconnect between our ethos and the leaders we have, vanishes it will be good not only for the Tibetans but our entire neighborhood and our country.

  3. Yes, India has the responsibility and now ability to make good for its past sins. But will a Modi government will measure up to the righteous path, I suspect. After all has cemented his economic ties with China by visiting it four times, am I right.


  4. I wish some one from the PM’s office will find this article somehow.. and discussed it with Mr. Modi..
    well and honest writing. !!

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  6. Yogesh, Tenzin and Kanshin many thanks for your encouraging comments. At Vicharprachar am focussing on issues from a Dharmic perspective. Tibet, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and India itself should form a Dharmic fraternity with naturally deep bonds. This is intrinsic and natural to all of us for millenia irrespective we are Vaishnva, Dvait, Advait, Jain, Buddhist or any other Dharmic origin school of thought. Many Dharmic values are inherently close to a humanist approach that we all cherish deeply. Once again thanks for your encouraging words. May our Govts and representatives focus more on these issues.

  7. Good thoughts ! Let truth and Light prevail ! But today it seems to be a distant dream. Modi and all his predecessors stuck more to defence of its current borders. Not a single politician nor party commented on its need over the last 70 years. Possibly its too late, and we have devoted more time strengthening the UN and other world systems that do not intend to hear what India-Tibet-Nepal-Bhutan and Sikkim should be saying jointly and of course, independently. Instead India’s underlying thought and today’s “media darling” ideas sound far more hegemonistic to these nations. In essence no less than the less likely to be sympathetic China’s pep talk. The cloak of dharma seems more of a farce the way India has built and pressed its relations with most its neighbours. Unfortunately in Nepal today Modi’s daggers became more visible than his cloak of dharma (Re: His passionate reverance at Pahupatinathn Temple media highlighted, his desire to visit Lumbini (Buddha-sthali) and Janakpur (Sita-sthali) in Nepal and his compassionate efforts during the April-May earthquake disasters turned more of an emotional outpouring and show of India’s yet hidden, military teeth. Also Modi’s 1 billion dollar line of credit in Nepal is working rather more like a large bone tied to a fishing rod fixed on a running dog’s back. With all the current diplomatic impasse and undeclared embargo the pressure tactics does not portray Modi and his group in line with what these vichar-prachar ideas portray. With the current Indian actions in Nepal or the cat playing with a weak mouse, will such ideas work ? Let’s be practical.

    Would be glad to hear from you. Thanks !

  8. Jyothi many thanks for your response. You many have concerns, but lets not underestimate Modis desire to particularly mend fences and improve cultural and trade relations particularly with Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar traditionally Dharmic nations. If you follow our PM, he’s been working every single day to try and put things ranging from the economy to foreign policy back on track. He’s been around only 18 months. Will discuss with better data a further 18-30 months down the line.

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