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RLA Press Release – The Siang Dialogue 1.0 – Session 3 (‘The Tawang Translation)

10th December 2023

The Red Lantern Analytica organized a three-day conference, ‘The Siang Dialogue 1.0’, from 8th to 10th December. In the third & last session titled ‘The Tawang Translation’, the speakers were Dr. Ayanjit Sen, Veteran Journalist & Associate Professor at Bennett University; Tenzin Lekshay La, Spokesperson of Central Tibetan Administration; Dr. Soumya Awasthi, Author & Consultant with Ministry of Defence and Tsewang Dorji Jeshong, Researcher from Tibet Policy Institute.

Dr. Ayanjit Sen started by sharing his experience of living near Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh and how things have changed now on the tourism front as compared to the 1960s. “An integral part of India will always remain an integral part of India no matter what may come,” he said. From the China factor in foreign policy perspective,  Arunachal Pradesh holds very significant importance and it is not “South Tibet” (as claimed by China), he added. “Invented Chinese names won’t stick at all. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and superfluous claims by CCP China won’t change a thing.” he stated. He also warned China not to cross the border in Arunachal Pradesh & distort the names of villages of the region as they will face the same what they faced in Ladakh in 2020. “Today’s India is much more militarily and diplomatically stronger than what it used to be in the 1960s. Now people in India are more aware of what’s happening in Arunachal Pradesh. There is more awareness among the global community as far as the India-China border dispute is concerned,” Dr. Sen asserted. addressing China’s sinister tactics of including Arunachal in its own so called official map, he concluded by saying, “You can remove Arunachal Pradesh from the map but not from Geography.”

Tenzin Lekshay La began by thanking Indian people for supporting the Tibet issue since the leadership of JP Narayan in the 1960s. He said that Indian people need to know more about the Tibet issue and human rights violations being carried out by China. He highlighted that India & Tibet have been connected by borders, history, culture, and spiritualism for centuries. “India is the Guru of Tibet and it is the moral responsibility of the Guru to support its disciple in times of crisis”, Tenzin La expressed. “The Tibetan cause is a just cause. India talks about Satyamev Jayate, and Tibet believes in divine truth as well. China fears they are losing control since they lack this truth,” he said.

He asserted that the survival of Tibet is very much relevant to the survival of India in the future. He said, “If Tibetans suffer then Indians will also suffer at the hands of the Chinese and history has shown this.” He highlighted the fact that Tibet is the lifeline of both Indian and Chinese civilizations as key rivers which act as the lifeline of both regions originate in Tibet. “Learning from the past, we can change the course of the future,” he said.

Tenzin La expressed the concern of the ecological damage being done by China in Tibet. Glaciers are melting rapidly, temperature is rising at double rate because China is putting so much pressure on the fragile ecology of Tibet. He further said, “Landslides, earthquakes and floods have become a common phenomenon in Tibet and all the other Himalayan states all because of damage being done by China in Tibet.” He concluded by appealing to Indians to support Tibet not only emotionally but also through actions. “China is carrying out genocide in Tibet. It is running colonial-style schools in the region to indoctrinate Tibetan children.”

“The Chinese have a very aggressive and expansionist agenda,” said Dr. Soumya Awasthi in the context of CCP China’s actions in Tibet. She said, “Tibet is a very important part of India’s history.” She further added that the Tibet issue continues to be unresolved due to China’s expansionist agenda. It has not honored the 1954 agreement of giving Tibetan people autonomy to run their government. Dr Awasthi highlighted the initiatives taken by India to support the Tibet issue including constituting a Special Frontier Force in 1962, training Tibetans to fight at high altitudes, supporting Tibetan refugees & granting them asylum, providing support to the Dalai Lama and also inviting Lobsang Sangay, former Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration, at a government event in 2014. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India formalized the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy in 2014.

Dr. Soumya Awasthi suggested that India must also come out with its map game to reply to China in its own language to support the Tibetan cause strongly. She highlighted the fact that India’s stand on Tibet issue is now much stronger and the risk-taking capacity has also increased. She also advised the Tibetan Government-in-exile to enter into a comprehensive agreement with India on how to move forward on the Tibet issue.

Tsewang Dorji elaborated on the geopolitical significance of Tawang in India-China relations & China’s Great Game in the Himalayan region. He said that the geopolitical importance of Tibet is very critical to understand China’s expansionist agenda in the Himalayan region.

The RLA plans to have the next edition of Siang Dialogue in Arunachal Pradesh. The three-day ‘The Siang Dialogue 1.0’ conference was full of insights on the India-China border issue, the Tibet issue, the geopolitical importance of the Northeastern region of India, China’s great game in the Himalayan region and Southeast Asia & much more. The ‘The Siang Dialogue 1.0’ conference concluded on a very high note. Following the guest speaker’s address, there was an in-depth Q&A session which highlighted key issues like Beijing meddling with the narrative of Tibet and suppression of free media under the Chinese Communist Party regime.

The speakers enunciated that China must not preach things that it itself doesn’t practice like bringing peace and creating friendly ecosystems. The session delved into the historical facts regarding the 1962 war and the border skirmishes that happened all along. Speakers further explored the origins of the people of Tibet, the historical significance of the relationships between the people of Tawang and Tibet, and why Arunachal Pradesh has become a centre of spirituality for the Tibetans. The issue of the birth of next Dalai Lama being contended by Beijing was also discussed at length. The in-depth Question and Answers session concluded by discussing how China is attempting to exploit Tibet, its natural resources and destroying history to further its hegemonic desires.

Ms. Kritika from team of Red Lantern Analytica, moderated the session. Ms. Shalini Arya, Research associate at Red Lantern Analytica delivered the vote of Thanks. The session closed after the vote of thanks was given.

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