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Rattled : China writes letter to Indian MPs objecting the participation in Tibetan Advocacy Campaign

Source : OpIndia

Rattled : China writes letter to Indian MPs objecting the participation in Tibetan Advocacy Campaign
Indian parliamentarians with Tibetan counterpart posing for photograph after a reception hosted by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile. (Image source Tibetan Parliament)

Cutting across the party line, six Indian parliamentarians headed by Union MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar had attended a dinner reception hosted by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, prompting protests from expansionist China which illegally captured Tibet. 

Other than Chandrasekhar, BJP’s Maneka Gandhi and KC Ramamurthy, Congress MPs Jairam Ramesh and Manish Tewari, and BJD’s Sujeet Kumar attended one such event held on December 22 at Imperial Hotel in Delhi. The Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, was present at the event. 

According to the website of the Tibetan Parliament, MPs attended the Tibetan Advocacy Campaign programme as part of the All-Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APIPFT). The programme continued for over a week. It seems that other than these six MPs other MPs namely minister Ramdas Athawale, Janardan Singh Sigriwal, Swapan Dasgupta, Chandeshwar Prasad, Suresh Kumar Kashyap, Sabtagiri Ulka, and Rani Pratibha Singh had attended the reception. 

Ministers and MPs participating in the official Tibetan programme is a marked departure from the February 22, 2018 advisory of the Centre on Tibet related programme. In the advisory, the Centre had asked senior leaders and government functionaries to stay away from events organised by Tibetan leaders in wake of bilateral relations.

As China is known for breaching diplomatic protocols, the Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in India Zhou Yongsheng shot protest letters to MPs asking them to refrain from providing support to the ‘Tibetan independence forces’. However. after China shot a letter of protest to MPs, the BJD MP and the convener of the All-Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APIPFT) snubbed China for daring to write to MPs. 

MPs snub China, Chinese Embassy for writing letters 

BJD MP Sujeet Kumar, who has been appointed as the new convener of APIPFI, snubbed the Chinese Embassy for its undiplomatic move of writing a letter to MPs directly. 

B Sujeet Kumar asked how the Political Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy can dare to write a letter to MPs of the Indian Parliament that represents the largest democracy in the world. “How dare you send letters to Indian MPs? If anything, you can raise your protest through official channels. I think the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) should take a stand,” Kumar said.

He said that the stated objective of the Parliamentary forum was to build a relationship between the government-in-exile and the people of India because of the shared history, civilization, Buddhism, and trade. He said that the basic idea was to build on those linkages. He revealed the Chinese Embassy sent him four or five letters and he gave befitting replies to all. He added said he doesn’t consider Tibet to be a part of China. 

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also received a letter from the Chinese Political Counsellor. He said that he attended the programme out of his profound admiration for the Lord Buddha, deep respect for the Dalai Lama, and contribution of Tibetan sources in rediscovering India’s Buddhist heritage. 

Union minister Chandrasekhar on the other hand said he was a member of the Indo-Tibetan Parliamentary forum under the chairmanship of the BJP veteran Shanta Kumar. He was invited to the event and he attended the dinner. 

APIPFT established in 1970

APIFT was established in 1970 by Mohomedali Currim Chagla to champion the cause of Tibet under the leadership and guidance of prominent Indian Parliamentarians. Veteran parliamentarians like Madhu Limaye, George Fernandes, Rabi Ray, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, T.N. Chaturvedi, Mohan Singh, and Satyavrat Chaturvedi were associated with this. 

India second home of Tibetans 

Sixty years ago,  On March 17, 1959, Dalai Lama left Lhasa after a failed uprising against Communist rule and came to India. he set up his administration in exile in Dharamshala where he also lives. Around 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, over 100,000 of them in different parts of India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.

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