'India's position on Tibet unchanged'

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New Delhi, Apr 11: India's position on Tibet has been consistent and is not likely to change in future, top diplomatic sources asserted here today.
"We are India. We are unique in our approach towards Tibet. Our position is very clear...Tibet is an autonomous region of China. I don't see that change (in that)," the sources said.

Referring to the security of the Olympic Torch in India, the sources said it (the Olympic Torch) was responsibility of the Government of India. ''We will take care of that.'' ''In India, it is our responsibility. That doesn't mean that we won't consult the Chinese. They (Chinese) also accept that it is our responbsibility,'' the sources said. Referring to the demonstrations by the Tibetans here, the sources said India is a democracy and such demonstrations could not be stopped. However, the demonstrators would not be allowed to break the law.

This was conveyed to Chinese even today that the government would not stop the Tibetans. But they would not be allowed to break the law. "We have told the Chinense that we are a democracy and people have a right to demonstrate. But we won't allow them to break law. We told them that even today." On Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the sources said he is a respected religious leader and even the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) had described him ''the greatest living Gandhian.'' The Indian government had done more than anybody else in the world for the Tibetans--given them asylum and helped them keep their culture alive.

Referring to the various views on the Indian government approach to the Tibetans, the sources said there were differences among the Tibetans themselves. However, that would not change the Government of India's approach. "There will be differences between what we say and what the world says. That will not change our approach. If we change our stance, then we have a right to say. But look at our consistency." Asked whether the Chinese crackdown in Tibet would spark off border crossing by Tibetans into India, the sources said there was no such possibility because the Chinese had strengthened security on their borders.


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