‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’, Doklam standoff not very serious: Dalai Lama
New Delhi: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Wednesday said the military standoff between India and China on the Doklam plateau is “not a very serious” issue and stressed that the two countries have to live side by side as good neighbours.
As two big nations, neither has the ability to eliminate the other, the Tibetan spiritual leader said in response to a question on what he thought about the nearly two-month-old military face-off.
“India and China are neighbours. I think we should make a distinction between the (Chinese) people and the (Chinese) government. The (Chinese) government is something different. So the (Chinese) government after a few decades may change but the Chinese people are always there... at the people level I don’t think there is any negative feeling except sometimes—including in Tibet—some wrong information, some propaganda which makes things complicated,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said.
He was speaking at an event organized by the Editors Guild of India.
The Dalai Lama has been living in exile in India since 1959, when he fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He now lives in Dharamshala in northern India, which is a sore point with Beijing.
China, on its part, says its troops peacefully liberated Tibet in 1950 and regards the 80-year-old Nobel Peace Prize-winning monk as a separatist.
“I don’t think it’s very serious,” the Dalai Lama said on the standoff, adding that during the 1962 India-China War, Chinese troops had penetrated into India as far as Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh.
“But eventually they withdrew,” he said. “I don’t think both sides dare to carry out a big war. I don’t think there will be war... eventually Hindi-Chini bhai bhai,” the Dalai Lama added, evoking a slogan that “Indians and Chinese are brothers”—which was popular in the 1950s.
“Being two big nations, neither has the ability to eliminate the other or defeat the other, so they have to live side by side,” the Dalai Lama said, adding: “So temporarily, they use some harsh words... but I don’t think it’s serious.”
Tensions between the Asian giants have been high since 16 June after Bhutan objected to an attempt by Chinese troops to build a road on the Doklam plateau. Indian troops stationed in Bhutan under a special security arrangement intervened to keep Chinese troops at bay. India says the action to construct the road was unilateral and changes the status quo. It fears the road will allow China to cut off its access to northeastern states.
China has said that talks to resolve the crisis will only take place after India withdraws its troops from Doklam which it claims as its Donglang region. It has accused India of trespassing into its territory. India on its part has called for a withdrawal of troops of both countries from the region.
On Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption in China, the Dalai Lama said he “appreciated” the move. “Overall, I think today’s China compared to 30-40 years ago (is) much changed.”
Since assuming power in late 2012, Xi has pursued a relentless campaign against corruption, warning that the problem could threaten the party’s ability to retain power, though some analysts say he is also taking down political rivals.
When asked about the possibility of a resumption of negotiations between his representatives and the Chinese government, the Dalai Lama said direct dialogue between the two sides on the future of Tibet—stalled since 2010—could restart after the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th party congress in October/November.