Former US presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all met with the Dalai Lama. The only recent former president who never met him is Donald Trump.
Tibetans living in exile in India are divided into two main groups — the Central Tibetan Administration headed by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Youth Congress, which seeks Tibetan independence. There is also a group so fully integrated into India that it serves as a special operations unit called the Special Frontier Force, which cannot wait to get its hands on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
An important thing to know about the Dalai Lama is that he does not call for Tibetan independence. He seeks a high degree of autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule.
Furthermore, the Dalai Lama calls for unification between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait — as long as it happens under the values of democracy and human rights. This view is different from India’s “one China” policy. India does not recognize Taiwan and Tibet as belonging to China, and if China does not recognize “one India,” India will not recognize “one China.”
In the past few years, whenever the Dalai Lama spoke about visiting Taiwan, the media here only reported that he would like to visit.
However, Indian reporting says that the Dalai Lama has a precondition for visiting Taiwan, namely that he first wants to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing.
In other words, he would visit Taiwan under the premise of “one China,” but India would never agree to that.
The strategy of India’s foreign affairs departments regarding the Dalai Lama is to prevent him from visiting either side of the Taiwan Strait. They would prefer that he stayed in India, so they often refuse to grant him visas.
When dealing with the Tibetan issue, Taiwan, the US and Japan have to consider the role India plays.
The US did not have any problem with India’s role during Trump’s presidency, because Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have similar ideologies and attach more value to the security of their respective nations than to human rights issues.
An Indian security official recounted a preparatory meeting between US and Indian national security and diplomatic officials before Trump’s 2020 visit to India. US officials mimicked the Indian officials’ accents, which is something that diplomats should never do, but the Indian officials were not offended and the two sides continued making fun of each other.
This incident shows how cordial the two countries’ relations were at that time.
During the November 2020 US presidential election, Indian military leaders were said to have stayed up all night to watch the results, and when it became clear that Joe Biden had enough electoral college votes to assure him of the presidency, the generals all looked disappointed.
There is no meeting of minds between Biden and Modi as there was with Trump.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken seems to be largely continuing the foreign policies of Mike Pompeo, his predecessor in the Trump administration.
Compared with the Tibetan government-in-exile, India can do more to effectively constrain China, so the exiled government would be useless without India’s support.
However, India’s approach to the Tibetan question does not correspond with US policies. For Tibetans themselves, the Tibet question is about human rights, life, property and religious freedom, but for India it is more about geopolitics.
Consequently, India might support Tibetan independence more than the Dalai Lama. This is because, from India’s point of view, if Tibet were to become independent, it would almost certainly lean toward India, and form a buffer zone between it and China, making it more difficult for Beijing to interfere in South Asia.
For these reasons, India’s attitude is to use the Dalai Lama as a figurehead.
The Dalai Lama himself has said that his reincarnation — the next Dalai Lama — might be born in India or Mongolia.
If the 15th Dalai Lama is indeed born in India, he might have different policies regarding Tibet than the 14th.
Wang Wen-sheng is a doctoral student at Jindal University in India.
Translated by Julian Clegg
The Jumbo Floating Restaurant was a landmark in Hong Kong for nearly half a century. The palatial restaurant, with its pastiche Chinese architecture and neon lights perfectly encapsulated the territory’s beguiling balance of East and West, tradition and modernity. It was a feature backdrop in numerous Hong Kong films. However, forced to close amid the stringent COVID-19 lockdown policies of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) and denied financial support from her government, the floating temple to Cantonese gastronomy was towed from its mooring in Aberdeen Harbour this month by its owners with its planned destination not released. On June
Ned Price, spokesperson of the United States Department of State, is a Twitter influencer at the exalted “celebrity/macro” rank. So, even though it was well after working hours on Friday evening, May 20, 2022 — as Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepared for President Biden’s first presidential trip to Asia — Ned Price was sure of an audience as he “tweeted” the following message: “The PRC continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy. The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act,
Following the controversial nomination process of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate for the Taoyuan mayoral election, various KMT members are vying for a nomination for the November vote in Kaohsiung, where they would face off with Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Former Department of Health minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) last week said that if given the mandate, he would run as the KMT’s candidate. Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) also expressed his willingness to run, touting his policies for Kaohsiung at a conference held by local industry representatives on Thursday last week. If
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has focused on improving relations with South Asian countries under the New Southbound Policy. It is in this context that Thursday’s meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) has been viewed as important — not merely because a Taiwanese company is planning to establish an electric vehicle plant in India, but also because the meeting indicated India’s willingness to engage at the highest political level. While this development is certain to boost ties between Taiwan and India, several measures have also been taken to improve Taipei’s relations