The Tibet question

How will New Delhi calibrate its Tibet stance when it must work with new, democratic leaders?


On Sunday, exiled Tibetans started voting to elect a political leader for the next five years. Photo: PTI
On Sunday, exiled Tibetans started voting to elect a political leader for the next five years. Photo: PTI

Dharamsala has been in the news of late because of the brouhaha over the India-Pakistan cricket match that was to have been held there. But there is another important event, if more low key as far as public consciousness goes, currently happening there.

On Sunday, exiled Tibetans started voting to elect a political leader for the next five years—the second time this has happened following a commendable decision by the Dalai Lama to step back and allow a democratic system space.

But whatever the outcome of the vote and the effectiveness of the fledgling democratic system, the Dalai Lama indisputably remains the public face and heart of the Tibet issue. And time is on China’s side here, given that the 80-year-old leader has been in poor health.

That raises a question for New Delhi: the Dalai Lama has been a known, safe quantity for decades. How will New Delhi calibrate its Tibet stance when it must work with new leaders?

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