Resetting India’s Tibet Policy 2022

Policy Document

by Team FNVA

About the Policy Document:

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The evolution of India’s Tibet policy can be traced back to its pre-independence. The Government of India (GoI) unhesitatingly received the 14th Dalai Lama, accompanying monks and others with him when he sought asylum in 1959. India is host to the largest community of Tibetans outside of Tibet and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) is also based in India. It is therefore incumbent upon India to take a more pro-active role in the settlement of the Tibet conflict. 

The vulnerability of India’s security was exposed with the annexation of Tibet by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1950/51. India has to continuously assess and reassess this vulnerability in its own national interest and take appropriate measures — diplomatic, infrastructural, strategic (defence preparedness) — to diffuse tensions and lay a road map for political and economic stability in the region. Tibet is not only the crux of the (China) Tibet- India border issue, but it has the potential to be part of the solution to the vexed boundary issue as well. Chinese officials, diplomats, and members of Chinese government controlled think-tanks have listed the following main items (in order of priority) as issues of concern: a) Dalai Lama and Tibet issue, and b) the border dispute. 

Resetting India's Tibet Policy

FNVA brought out its policy document “Reappraisal of India’s Tibet Policy 2013”, since then not only have there been numerous transgressions carried out by the PRC along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), but India has had to face an even more belligerent China on its borders. Bilateral agreements between India and China aimed at maintaining peace and tranquillity at the (China)Tibet-India border areas became meaningless the moment China moved large numbers of troops to Eastern Ladakh in May 2020. Since then, despite several rounds of talks between the two sides, there has been no forward movement in bilateral discussions to move back to the status quo ante. Relations between the two sides have deteriorated extensively and India must plan for a new phase in its bilateral relations and be constantly prepared for fresh moves along the LAC by the PRC. 

Successive Indian governments have invested heavily to ensure a good and a positive bilateral relation with China, the current impasse however proves that these efforts have borne little fruit. FNVA believes now is the opportune time for India to re-examine, revisit, and reset its current policy on all matters pertaining to Tibet and Tibet related issues. 

FNVA engaged in the exercise to formulate a policy document: “Re-setting India’s Tibet Policy 2022”. The document is meant for the long-term projection of issues between India, Tibet, and China, and their possible resolution in a peaceful manner. FNVA has reasons to believe this policy document will be useful to the government, the parliament, and policy influencers. 

The draft was shared with key experts on Tibet and China including leading Tibetans for their feedback. FNVA received useful suggestions for which we record our appreciation.

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