Dharamshala: Against the backdrop of the World Parliamentary Convention on Tibet which recently concluded in Latvia, the 6th All India Tibet Support Groups Conference was convened here at the Central Tibetan Secretariat this Saturday with the participation of 216 members of Tibet Support Groups representing 21 states across India.
Representatives from 21 Indian states have converged at the seat of Central Tibetan Administration to commemorate the 60th year since His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people sought exile in India and the 60th year since the first All India Convention on Tibet of Kolkata 1959.
With Indian leaders and supporters from political, educational, business, and spiritual walks of life among speakers and participants, the enduring support, love and friendship and hospitality of India was celebrated once again.
Key Indian speakers including Shri RK Khrimey, National Convener, Core Group for Tibetan Cause, Shri Indresh Kumar, Patron, Bharat Tibbat Sahyog Manch and RSS Leader, Dr. Anand Kumar, National President, India Tibet Friendship Society, and Shri Surender Kumar, National Co-Convener, Core Group unanimously called for the resolution of the Tibet issue through a peaceful, democratic means based on dialogue to facilitate the honourable return of the Tibetan people to Tibet.
Shri Rinchen Khando Khrimey, National Convener, Core Group for Tibetan Cause described the conference as an extraordinary opportunity to reinvigorate and re-strategise activities and initiatives of the Tibet Support Groups in view of the present critical scenario of Tibet while focusing on the strategies and action campaign on 5/50 vision of the CTA.
He said the conference reaffirms the same spirit of support, solidarity and friendship expressed at the first ever All India Tibet Convention in 1959 under the leadership of Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan.
“We, as friends of Tibet, pledge to carry forward our commitment towards the Tibetan freedom movement in full strength and vigour and reaffirm the same spirit of support, solidarity and friendship expressed at the first ever All India Tibet Convention in 1959 under the leadership of Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan,” Shri Khrimey added.
Dr. Anand Kumar, National President, India Tibet Friendship Society said it was an opportune moment to review the sixty long years of the engagement of Indian supporters and friends of Tibet and remarked upon how “the little assembly of citizens voice in Kolkata grew into a big river of consciousness, humanity, solidarity and citizen’s voice in these sixty years.”
“It all started as a small candle of light in 1959 under the noble guidance of Loknath Jai Prakash Narayan to declare and say it loud and clear that if Tibet is occupied by the evil designs of our vile neighbour People’s Republic of China, they should not feel disappointed. They have India, which is not only their neighbour but also their Gurudesh, home of Buddha. You are welcome to stay here and hold on to your dignity, identity and quest for justice.”
“On one hand, the little assembly of citizens voice in Kolkata has grown into a big river of consciousness, humanity, solidarity and citizen’s voice in these sixty years.” He continued, “That little light is today grown into a large flame which is symbolised by the Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharamshala.”
“The Tibetan transition is so so remarkable for a variety of reasons including their wisdom, value, commitment, and resilience against one of the mightiest empires that we know today,” said Dr Anand.
Shri Indresh Kumar discussed the unprecedented unrest at India-China border which once used to be the friendly and harmonious border between Tibet and India.
Agreeing with the rest of the speakers, Shri Indresh Kumar identified China’s political, military advances as an escalating threat to India’s national security and assured that India won’t deter from taking bold actions if such advances are not checked.
In an expression of warmth and gratitude, President Dr Lobsang Sangay delivered an enthusiastic speech in Hindi and said that no other country has done more for Tibet than India and no people of a country has been so kind, generous as the Indian people is to Tibetans.
“And I hope that India retains its unparalleled support for Tibet until our aspirations are realised,” he added.
Dr Sangay, however, stressed that an informed political discourse on Tibet should be enabled within the Indian civil society.
“Freedom House reported for three consecutive years that Syria was the least free country and Tibet as the second least free country. Everyone knows about Syria but we must also know that Tibet is the second least free country in the world after Syria.”
Urging India to be at the forefront in fighting the imperialist and expansionist designs of China, President also mentioned the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, a US legislation that calls for ban on access for Chinese government officials responsible for restricting access for US journalists, diplomats, tourists, and citizens, including Tibetan Americans to Tibet.
He urged India to speedily adopt such policies and legislation that enables reciprocity with China and not punishment or retaliation.
The opening event of the Conference concluded with a vote of thanks by Shri Surender Kumar, National Co-Convener, Core Group for Tibetan Cause.
President Dr Sangay along with other key speakers unveiled the Hindi translation of CTA’s publication titled ‘Tibet was Never Part of China but the Middle Way Approach Remains a Viable Solution’.
Over the course of two days, the 200-strong participants will extensively deliberate on the strategies and action campaigns on the Five Fifty Vision of Central Tibetan Administration based on the recommendations from the Five Fifty Forum on Resilience and The Youth Five Fifty Forum.
The Plenary sessions will feature presentations on ‘The Five Fifty Vision of Central Tibetan Administration’ by President Dr Sangay; Importance of Tibet to India by Dr Abanti Bhattacharya, Associate Professor, Chinese Studies, Delhi University; Asia and India’s Role in Tibet’s Issue by Dr Anand Kumar, Role of Core Group and Tibet Support Groups in India by Shri Vijay Kranti, Senior Consultant, Doordarshan among others.
The conference is being organised by the Core Group for Tibetan Cause, an apex coordinating body of Tibet support groups all over India and is facilitated by the India Tibet Coordination Office based in New Delhi.