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'India can help resolve Tibetan issue'

The Dalai Lama feels that India can use its growing friendship with China to help resolve the Tibetan issue.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2006 11:04 IST

The Dalai Lama welcomes growing friendship between India and China but feels at the same time that New Delhi can help resolve the Tibetan issue, says the spiritual leader's top representative in New Delhi.

Tempa Tsering, who heads the Dalai Lama's bureau in New Delhi, also said he expected demonstrations to take place when Chinese President Hu Jintao visits India next week.

"We welcome good relations between India and China and we hope that this will also help in the resolution of the Tibetan issue to the satisfaction of Tibetan people," Tsering, 57, said in an interview.

"It is a very complex issue but a solution has to be found," added. "The issue of Tibet can also be discussed (during Hu's visit). Some efforts can be made by India to find an amicable solution to the Tibet issue.

"After all there has to be a peaceful and harmonious relationship between Tibet and China. This will be beneficial to both countries," he said, without going into specifics.

Tsering is among the 100,000 Tibetans who live in India and was among the thousands who fled their homeland along with the Dalai Lama in 1959 following a failed anti-China uprising.

"For India-China relations to be genuine and long lasting, the issue of Tibet has to be solved," he maintained. "Without its resolution a genuine relationship will be difficult."

Like the rest of the world, India does not recognise the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile headquartered in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. The Tibetan leader has over the past two decades stopped talking about a free Tibet and is instead seeking autonomy to preserve the Tibetan way of life.

The Dalai Lama's representatives have also been in contact with the Chinese regime since 1979. These ties have faced ups and downs and got revived in 2002, with the Dalai Lama's brother himself making periodic visits to China.

But since May this year, Tsering said, Beijing has taken an aggressive stand against the Dalai Lama, "calling him a liar, a fake religious leader, and things like that. We do not understand the reasons for the hardening stand."

Tsering was quite casual when asked about possible demonstrations by Tibetans during Hu's three-day trip to India beginning on Monday.

"Yes, there will be protests, I think. There are these Tibet support groups, Tibetan NGOs. Whenever similar visits take there, there are demonstrations. The Tibetans are quite hurt by the Chinese accusations against the Dalai Lama."

The Tibetan Youth Congress has already announced protests against Hu, who is to meet Indian government and political leaders. He will also visit the Taj Mahal before flying to Pakistan on November 22.

Tsering said Tibetans continued to flee Tibet in a clear indication that all was not well in the roof of the world.

The fleeing Tibetans make it to Nepal through the Himalayan passes, and often find their way to Dharamsala in India.

In September, he said, Chinese border guards opened fire at over 70 Tibetans, children included, on a mountain about 19,000 feet above sea level, leaving two people dead.

Romanian, Norwegian, Danish and Ukrainian mountaineers shot the horrendous scenes of the Chinese firing at Tibetans caught in waist deep snow and falling dead, he said.

"We always say this: As long as Tibetans in exile are not happy, the Tibetan issue will keep boiling. Once the Tibetans in exile become happy, there will be no Tibetan problem.

"Our is a struggle for truth and justice, for survival. It is also a struggle of non-violence, for a distinct culture and nation."

The largest concentration of 40,000 Tibetans in India is in Karnataka. Delhi is home to some 2,000 Tibetans.

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