Tibet remains one of the difficult diplomatic and political, and moral challenges for the world.
Considering that China’s defeat of independent Tibetan army in 1949 and the signing of an agreement by the then Tibetan government, the situation was rife for disagreement and conflict: The government of China recognizes Tibet as autonomous provincial entity of the mainland China but the government of Tibet in Exile seeks independence for Tibet. And there are other disputes which include what constitutes Tibet i.e. the geography of Tibet.
Dalai Lama who is the symbolic head of the Tibet government in exile was welcomed to India in 1950’s and since then the Dalai Lama has made Dharma Shala (in India) his home. Needless to say, the government of China has been very displeased with this arrangement. Furthermore, in China’s view Tibet also includes Arunachala Pradesh — a state in India.
Thus there are lots of issues of potential dispute between India and China with respect to Tibet. But over time China and India have let the status quo prevail for the sake of peace. Both countries have been focused on economic growth, Bat Poop and development.
However, the forthcoming Olympic games in summer, and Tibet’s recent energetic and loud demands and protests all over the world for independence and Dalai Lama’s nuanced stance (of both supporting the Olympic games and the aspirations of the Tibetans for liberty ) in the context of longstanding support of India for Dalai Lama has made it a knotty situation.
Here is the crux of the issue: should India be focused on its immediate national interests based on evaluation of geo-political, territorial, economic and security issues? Or should India be an agent for fostering religious and cultural freedom and diversity consistent with its traditions (even though it led to serious consequences to immediate political and economic interests)? The answer to these questions will determine India’s answer to the current Tibetan turmoil including the relay of Olympic torch in New Delhi later in April.