Exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, Dalai Lama hinted at a European Union-like arrangement for the co-existence of Tibet and China. He stated that Tibet getting independence could be ‘difficult’, since even after achieving it, only a part of Central Tibet would be free. According to him, this was meaningless.
“I am one of the admirers of European Union. It is wonderful that they consider that common interest is more important than national sovereignty. World becomes smaller and smaller. So, there is a big question whether independent Tibet is in our benefit or to remain within People’s Republic of China with all the rights mentioned in the Chinese constitution. That is practical and realistic,” he said to students of Goa Institute of Management (GIM).
“Even if we get independence, only a small portion will get it. Most learned Tibetans come from other parts of Tibet. I feel it is more important for us to remain together culturally, spiritually rather than freeing a small part of Tibet, which is very difficult to achieve and even if achieved, will not be useful. So, from our side we are open. We are not seeking independence,” he said.
He stated that India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru had told him that ultimately, the issue of Tibet would have to be resolved by talks between Tibetan and Chinese leadership.
“Back then, I had a lot of discussion with Nehru. On one occasion, Nehru told me that America will not go to will not go to war with China to liberate Tibet. Very true. And he told me that sooner or later, you have to have dialogue with the Chinese government. So, from 1974, we decided not to seek independence. History is history,” he said.
Earlier in March, he had said that Tibet and China and exist together just like the European Union.
In a video message to the International Campaign for Tibet, Dalai Lama said that with a EU like concept, he is ready to remain within China.
“I always, you see, admire the spirit of (the) European Union.Common interest (is) more important rather than one’s own national interest. With that kind of concept, I am very much willing to remain within the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese word, “gongheguo” (republic), shows some kind of union is there.”
The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule and set up a government in exile in the foothills of Dharamsala. Chinese troops had seized control of Tibet nine years earlier.
China says Tibet in an integral part of its territory and has been for centuries. Beijing also says its rule ended serfdom and brought prosperity to what was a backward region, and that it fully respects the rights of the Tibetan people.