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India and China too powerful to defeat each other, must become bhai-bhai: Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 as a 23-year-old, said that till 1951, Tibet had served as a “buffer” zone between the two countries

mumbai Updated: Aug 15, 2017 00:45 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times
India,China,Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama said that despite border skirmishes, the two countries will have to coexist peacefully.(HT)

The Dalai Lama has suggested that India use it soft power, including its Buddhist heritage and tourism, to defuse tensions with China.

The 14th Dalai Lama, who is in Mumbai to inaugurate a course on ‘secular ethics’ at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), said on Monday that India should arrange for Chinese Buddhists to visit holy places such as the Dharmasala in Himachal Pradesh and Gaya in Bihar. “There are 400 million Buddhists living in China. If India invites them here they will come closer to the country,” he said.

The Dalai Lama said that despite border skirmishes, the two countries will have to coexist peacefully. “India and China can only create troubles for each other every now and then, but they cannot defeat each other, as both have powerful militaries. You should once think about ‘Hindi-Chini bhai bhai’ once again,” he said, invoking the popular catchphrase used to describe relations between India and China during 1950s.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 as a 23-year-old, said that till 1951, Tibet had served as a “buffer” zone between the two countries. However, that changed after the Seventeen-Point Agreement, which affirmed Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, came into effect, he added.

Speaking at TISS, the spiritual leader also endorsed the ‘secular’ approach to teach human values, instead of the traditional religious discourse. “The world has more than seven billion people, of which one billion are atheists. And even among believers, many are not convinced by their faiths. We need a secular way to teach values, based on scientific findings and common experience,” he said.

He also called for a more holistic education system. “Humans are a combination of body and mind. While the modern education system is important from to meet our physical requirements, we need more knowledge about mind and emotions. In addition to their regular subjects, we can teach children how to achieve mental peace,” he said.

The Dalai Lama also talked about bridging the caste and class divide in the country. “Lower caste people must develop self confidence, while the upper caste people should provide them opportunities of education and training,” he said.

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 15:06 IST