BJP general secretary Ram Madhav appreciated Dalai Lama’s efforts to engage with China to address the Tibet issue and said that India would stand by Tibet whenever required, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Addressing a gathering at the third Prof. ML Sondhi Memorial Lecture, Madhav said: “Engaging with China is the best available option for Tibet right now. Also, whenever required India and its citizens will stand by Tibet.”

Madhav, a known expert in Sino-Indian relations, also called for adopting a pragmatic foreign policy and not “romanticism” in managing neighbours.

“The history of our previous foreign policies reflects that we have never bothered to understand our neighbours. Our foreign policy has largely been driven by romantic ideas. We need to shed this and adopt a mature and pragmatic approach,” said Madhav.

Speaking on Indo-China relations, Madhav noted that the obsession of people in India has now gradually shifted to India-China relationship from India-Pakistan ties; and that maintaining a good relationship with China is the government’s priority.

“China is our important neighbour and we want to strengthen our ties with it. With the strong leadership of both our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, I am hopeful we will be able to settle our differences,” he asserted.

However, Madhav cautioned that the Doklam dispute with China was not over.

“China is our important neighbour and we want to strengthen our ties with it. With the strong leadership of both our  PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, I am hopeful we will be able to settle our differences,” Ram Madhav asserted.
“We deployed mature diplomacy together with strong ground posturing. Having said that, Doklam is not over yet,” he said.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Tibet holds the key to Beijing” at the same event, Tibetan government-in-exile’s President Lobsang Sangay said that Tibet is a “litmus test” and is a potential catalyst to bring about changes inside China. He also asserted that India should declare Tibet as its core issue as China has always considered Tibet as a palm to reach out to five fingers—Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh.

 “You ought to support Tibet, otherwise China is coming and penetrating every aspect of your society. There are forces within China that want the country to transform into a liberal democracy and Tibet can be a catalyst in that,” he said.

Commenting on United States President Donald Trump’s proposal for zero aid in 2018 to the Tibetans, reversing the decades-old American policy of providing financial assistance to the community for safeguarding their distinct identity, Sangay told The Sunday Guardian: “We are having discussions over it and we believe that it will be restored.”

 

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