Yashwant Sinha pedals aggressive policy on Tibet

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New Delhi, Apr 7 (UNI) Dubbing India's policy on Tibet ''shameful'', former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha today advocated that India pursue an aggressive Tibetan policy and said it was time for the country to have a relook at its policy on Tibet and not accept it as an autonomous region under China.

Participating in a seminar on India's policy, Mr Sinha said the conduct of its policy on Tibet sofar did not bring credit to the government or the people and the administration was yet to come out of the 1962 defeat. The Government is not allowing its ministers to share the platform with the Dalai Lama, the head of the Tibetan government in exile. It was China which was dictating the programmes of the Vice-President of India who he should meet and who he should not, Mr Sinha charged.

Mr Sinha took exception to External Affairs Minister Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, who instead of taking umbrage at China's claim on Arunachal Pradesh, was issuing a warning to the Dalai Lama not to indulge in politics. Last such warning was issued to Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen and she was bundled out to Europe, he added.

"I appeal to the Dalai Lama to give up his policy of accepting autonomy for Tibet under China and disregard the restrictions imposed on his political activities in India," he said, adding that the Indian government may be weak but not the people of the country.

Mr Sinha said the Tibetan leader will not face Taslima's fate for the ties of people of the country and India were stronger for the government to disregard the empathy and emotions of people of India towards the Tibetan people who were putting up an unrelenting struggle for the past 60 years.

''Emotions of our people for Tibetans are not as weak as our Government. Our PM did not dare visit Tawang fearing China's objections,'' he said.

''India wants good relations with China but it should not shy away from conflict if it is inevitable, the country should be prepared to face it,'' Mr Sinha said, announcing that he would dedicate himself to the cause of Tibet and its people and raise the issue on whichever forum it was necessary. He would make attempt to march to Lhasa if the situation so demanded. ''India today is not what it was in 1962,'' he remarked.

He said India had not achieved anything positive through its servile policy on Tibet and China spared no effort to embarrass India on Jammu and Kashmir or on Indo-Pakistan issues on international fora and reminded how he had to counter the Chinese diplomatic onslaught on these issues even as Finance Minister. "I told the Chinese Foreign Minister that the J&K issue and Tibet was not the same because J&K was under a democratic India and there could be no comparison with the supressions in Tibet,'' he said.

When China can allow concessions for the people of Hong Kong under its policy of ''one country two systems'', it made no attempts to give Tibetans the same privilege during the last six decades of occupation.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar, however, toed a softer line on China when he said his party was not demanding an independent Tibet but autonomy and self-respect for Tibetan people.

Even the Dalai Lama is not asking for total independence, he said.

Mr Indresh Kumar, an RSS functionary, in his address said ancient Chinese never regarded Tibet as their territory whereas India had unhindered access to Kailash Mansarovar. ''Now we have to beg with China for access,'' he said. Several Tibetan exiles too attended the seminar but none spoke obviously to comply with the restrictions on their political activities.


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