Exclusive: An interview with The Dalai Lama

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  1. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    His Holiness The Dalai Lama turns 75 on July 6. Compelled to flee Tibet and seek refuge in India in 1959, he has spent two-thirds of his life in exile.
    Claude Arpi reports on an enlightening interaction he had with His Holiness along with with a group of Indian and foreign scholars in Dharamsala recently.

    The first segment of an exclusive two-part interview:


    What fabulous fate for young toddler Lhamo Dhondrub, born 75 years ago in a small village of Amdo province, north-eastern Tibet. At the age of four he was recognised as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama and enthroned as the head of the Tibetan State.

    For the Tibetan people, the living incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, had again returned.

    The serene state of the Roof of the World could have remained unperturbed for centuries, but it was not to be. In October 1950, China's People's Liberation Army walked unhindered on to Tibetan soil. A new ideology, less compassionate than the Buddha Dharma which had come from India 12 centuries earlier, 'liberated' the Land of Snows.

    Nine years later, the young Dalai Lama had to flee his motherland and take refuge in India. He has now spent two-thirds of his life in this country. He recently met a group of Indian and foreign scholars at his home in Dharamsala.

    In a free-wheeling discussion he explained what Tibet is for him, the importance of the Indian tradition of Nalanda and the differences between Buddhist science, philosophy and religion and why he believes that a 'sort' of cultural genocide is happening in Tibet today.

    Your Holiness, what is Tibet? Some people see Tibet as religion; others see it as a civilisation; still others as a geographical territory. How do you perceive Tibet?
    Geographical Aspect:


    Tibet is considered as the Roof of the World. The geography (of Tibet) has nothing to do with politics.

    Tibet is just the highest plateau in the world. All the major rivers of Asia, from Pakistan to China, have their origin in Tibet. These rivers are the basis for the life of 2 billion human beings.

    The planet is now experiencing global warming and (there is) scarcity of water in many places. The ecology of Tibet has therefore become very crucial.

    Some ecologists, including scientists of the Chinese Academy of Science, have realised that the rate of global warming (is different in Tibet). While it grows at an average of 0.1 degrees (for the rest) of the planet; it (increases) by 0.3 degree for the Tibetan plateau. It means that it goes faster (on the Tibetan plateau).

    When I was in Lhasa (before 1959), elderly people used to tell us that the climate was becoming warmer. They said that when they were young, there was more snow (on the peaks) around Lhasa. In my teenage days, there was already much less snow. The (global) warming had already started.

    We need more studies from the part of the countries (served) by rivers (originating in Tibet). We have to educate people about this issue. People have to realise that the ecology of the (Tibetan plateau) is very important.
    Some Indian scholars once told me that because Tibet has a dry climate and high altitude, when some damage occurred, nature takes more time to recover. We also have to take this aspect seriously. The Tibetan environment is rather delicate.

    Political aspect
    Today the Chinese are proud of their economy which is very strong, but at the same time, they are eager to exploit the natural resources inside Tibet, and this regardless of the consequences for the ecology. It is a crucial matter.

    In some areas, which had been covered by thick forests for thousands of years, during the past 50 years, there has been an intense deforestation.

    As a result, when he was Chinese premier, Zhu Rongji (1998 to 2003) gave instructions that deforestation should stop in these high altitude areas. But there is corruption.

    Despite the (central) government instructions to local officials, deforestation is going on, thanks to corruption. Some Chinese businessmen do not care about government orders or restrictions.

    On one hand there are government restrictions, (on the other), there is no implementation.

    We need more study and the preservation of the Tibetan ecology, at any cost. It is very, very important for all South Asian nations.

    Cultural and Religious aspects

    Then the other aspect is the Tibetan culture. In the early part of the 20th century, Western scholars or Tibetologists considered that Tibetan Buddhism was not true Buddhism. They believed that it was mixed with local faith, Bon. They called it a special name, 'Lamaism'.

    Last year, I met two Burmese monks in Melbourne, Australia on the occasion of a World Parliamentary Religious Gathering.

    They asked to see me, I said 'yes'. I must say that I have great respect for (the) Hinayana (tradition) and wear the yellow robe myself. The (two monks) were also showing a genuine feeling of Buddhist brotherhood. But then, they said: "We are the students of the same teacher, the Buddha Sakyamuni, but we have big differences".

    I thought (that they talk this way) because some Western scholars have described Tibetan Buddhism as 'Lamaism' and (said that it was not) genuine Buddhism (laughing).

    Then I explained to them about the Tibetan monk's robes as per the Pratimoksha, the basic code of monastic discipline, (consisting of rules for ordained monks). I explained to some extent about the Pratimoksha according to the Mulasarvastivada (the monk tradition prevalent in Tibet since the 8th century AD).

    The text was originally written in Sanskrit. In the Theravada tradition which is practiced in Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, the Pratimoksha is written in Pali. There are small differences.

    According to the Sanskrit Pratimoksha scripture, which is used in Tibet, there are 253 precepts; according to the Theravada (in Pali) there are 227. These are therefore minor differences.

    I have studied the differences between the two texts. I compared them. The major precepts are 100 per cent the same. There are minor things, for example, our Pratimoksha mentions that the lower robe should not be below the ankle and be above the knee (His Holiness demonstrates).

    In our tradition we have seven points (about the lower robe), in the Pali tradition there is only one, (you should wear the robe properly). It has very minor differences.

    The same way, there are some other differences. But basically, there are the same precepts. I explained this to these two monks. They were shocked. There was an expression of surprise (on their faces): "Oh, Tibetan Buddhism has the same practices".

    (My conclusion is that) wrong information creates the wrong impression.

    I always describe Tibetan Buddhism as pure Buddhism from the Nalanda tradition. In Mahayana Buddhism, whether it is from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam or Tibetan, also Mongolia, we all recite the same Saddharma Pundarika Sutra or Lotus Sutra.

    We recite the same texts, all translated from Sanskrit. We all practice Mahayana.

    The Buddhist tradition of Nalanda uses Sanskrit language; Nalanda is the true promoter of the Mahayana tradition. Nalanda had great masters like Nagarjuna and Arya Asanga.

    The important point is that during the 8th century, the Tibetan emperor invited a great master of Nalanda. His name was Shantarakshita. He was a famous, well-known scholar and master of Nalanda. He went to Tibet and spent the rest of his life there. He introduced Buddhism in Tibet. That is why I consider that Tibetan Buddhism is the authentic tradition of Nalanda.

    I myself studied the Nalanda tradition of Buddhism; first I learned by heart and memorised what we call the Root Texts. All these Root Texts have been written by Nalanda masters. Then, I continued the study and learned word by word with the help of commentaries, mainly written by Indian Masters from Nalanda. Of course, we have also some Tibetan commentaries.

    Therefore the Tibetan Buddhist tradition is the Nalanda tradition which combines the Sanskrit and the Pali traditions as well as Buddhist Tantrayana. Masters like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva and Chandrakirti wrote tantric treatises (in Sanskrit).

    Is it what we call Tantrayana?
    Yes, it is Buddhist Tantrayana or Vajrayana. Of course, Hindu Tantrayana is also there.

    Once a Hindu tantric practitioner came here, he was from Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh). There is a lot of similarities, but the Hindu Tantrayana is based on Atma (soul) theory. We Buddhists do not believe in the Atma.

    There are two theories, Atma and Anatma, the existence of an independent self or its non-existence (selflessness). It is the main demarcation between Buddhism and Hinduism.

    Japanese, Chinese, Tibetans, who are Buddhists do not believe in the existence of an independent self, Atma.

    A Japanese friend, who is the abbot of one monastery (in Japan) told me (in fact many Japanese told me the same thing): "We also recite the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra, the Heart Sutra, and we use the term 'emptiness', but without understanding the meaning" (laughing).

    It is also true for us Tibetans, unless you study seriously and meditate; it is difficult to (understand). Just recitation of the words is meaningless.

    Nowadays, Western scholars or Tibetologists realise that Tibetan Buddhism is really the same as the Indian tradition of Nalanda and the knowledge of Tibetan scholars is truly complete.

    Can we say that the Tibetan tradition is a combination of Sanskrit, Pali and Vajrayana?
    Yes, it is complete. Like Nagarjuna, himself a monk, he practiced Pratimoksha, which is the same in Sanskrit and Pali traditions. Most of the texts like the Mulamadhyamaka-karika (The Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way) of Nagarjuna were in Sanskrit. It is one of the main texts of the Mahayana tradition.

    One great Indian nuclear physicist, Dr Raja Ramanna, told me that he once read this text of Nagarjuna, he was surprised when he found in this text the concept of quantum physics and relativity.

    The West discovered these concepts at the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th century when some Indian sages like Nagarjuna knew it 2,000 years ago.

    As a physicist, (Dr Ramana) was really surprised.

    I want (here to) make a distinction, when we speak of Buddhism, we have the impression that we are speaking of a religious tradition.

    Since I began my contacts with Western scientists over the past 27 years, we have had some serious discussions. We have been meeting annually; the interest is from both sides. The contacts between Western scientists and the Tibetan scholars have grown much closer.

    For the past several years, I make a distinction between Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist science. When some people spoke of a dialogue between Modern Sciences and Buddhism, I made a correction, the word 'Buddhism' is misleading.

    Buddhism, like Jainism does not have the concept of a creator. It is not based on a creator, but on the law of cause and effect (or Law of Causality). It is similar to the Darwinian Theory. Therefore ultimately, action is the real cause of all events.

    Action entirely depends on motivation. Motivation means the mind, emotions, etc.

    In order to tackle emotions, to reduce destructive emotions and increase constructive emotions, you have to know what is 'emotion' and the root cause of the emotion.

    In Hinduism, you have three things Shila (abstinence from killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct and intoxication), Samadhi (concentration), and Prajna (understanding, discernment or cognitive acuity).

    The serious practitioners first go through Shila, many physical practices, several disciplines, etc, then Samadhi (Dhyana), concentration, one pointed concentration, then Vipassana. Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism have the same.

    Samadhi and Vipassana are the workings of mind. We have to know about the mind.

    In Buddhism, there is a lot of explanation about the mind, many categories of mind. Therefore Buddhism could be considered as 'science of mind'. The science of Buddhism is not necessarily the Buddhist religion.

    That is one aspect.

    Another is the Buddhist philosophy (or concept), like the Buddhist relativity of things; then, you have Buddhist religion.

    When I contact modern scientists, I don't put them in contact with Buddhist religion, but with Buddhist science and to some extent to Buddhist philosophy.

    It is important (to understand) that when we say 'Buddhist science', we mean science of the mind; it is something universal; it is not a religion.

    Buddhist religion is not universal, it is only for Buddhists. This is clear.

    These scientists (that I am meeting) do not want to become Buddhist; some of them are Christians, many are atheists, some have no religious beliefs, but they are interested in Buddhist experiences and explanations, or techniques for (studying) the mind and emotions.

    Therefore, I thought it was useful to make the distinction between Buddhist science, Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist religion.

    How do you apply morality to this system?
    Usually, I say that there are three ways to promote morality or moral ethics.

    One is through a theistic religion which believes in a God, created by God who is an infinite Love; one must follow the example of God. It is one way to promote moral ethics. It is not universal.

    Then, for those who believe in a non-theistic faith like Jainism or Buddhism, and some part of Sankya. There is no God, no Creator.

    If you harm others, you will have to face the consequences. If you help others, you will get benefits; that much only. That is the Law of Casualty. That is not universal.

    There must be a third one which is universal; the two first ones are not. The third one does not depend on religion, but is based on our common experience. If you show me some sincere, truthful, kind attitude, I feel happy.

    Similarly if I show you the same attitude, I feel happy. If I have some suspicion towards you, you may smile, saying nice words, but inside you have a deep suspicion, this will immediately destroy your peace of mind. It is common experience.

    If you are honest, compassionate, kind, you get the benefit and peace of mind, which in turn can immensely benefit your health. Constant fear, doubt, distrust, hatred eat into our immune system, say some scientists.

    We are social animals. The future of the individuals depends on society, but if you develop suspicion, (it harms society).

    Of course, I don't want to make political comments, but the Chinese Communist hardliners are always suspicious; they even distrust their own comrades. How can there be genuine inner peace or friendship (in these conditions)?

    Friendship is highly necessary for social animals. The best way to develop genuine friendship is trust, mutual respect. It is the basis.

    If you are full of suspicion, how to have a friendship? And cooperation, for genuine cooperation, harmony is also important.

    If there is a chance, I would like to tell President Hu Jintao who speaks of the promotion of harmonious society, that it is excellent. However, if he really wants to develop a harmonious society, transparency is really necessary, free information is very necessary. How is it possible (to develop a harmonious society) with censorship?

    The two first ones are about theistic and atheistic religion, which is the third one?


    Without touching religion, just according to our common sense, our common experience. First of all, we all come from our mother. Though there were some stories in Tibet that some Lamas were born out a Lotus, it is very beautiful and poetic, but (at the end), these people born out of lotuses may have more compassion towards lotuses than human beings (laughing.

    We are fortunate to have as a mother, another human being (as a mother).

    We naturally have the seed for love towards other human beings, just because our mother provided us with maximum affection, love and compassion.

    The children who receive maximum love and compassion from their mother, their mind is much more stable; they are happier; they study better. While those children who don't have a mother, or if the mother is very bad (laughing), these children psychologically suffer deep inside.

    I like the way Shakespeare in Macbeth speaks of 'the milk of human kindness'. He links mother's milk to human love.

    That is right.

    Forced to flee his country 51 years ago, His Holiness the Dalai Lama celebrates his 75th birthday on July 6. The Tibetan spiritual leader recently met a group of scholars to discuss China's Communist regime and why he considers India his guru.
    Claude Arpi reports on the engaging interaction:


    Would you say that Chinese society is not a healthy society today?

    When authoritarian systems are institutionalised like in China or (North) Korea, (there is a problem). In cases like Libya or Iran, it is less institutionalised, it depends more on individuals; the same thing for Saddam Hussein, he was one single person or in Burma, it is only a few generals who have become dictators. Once this generation is gone, the new generation, will be different.

    But in Communist countries, it is institutionalised; the new leadership always continues (in the footsteps of the previous one). It is wrong.

    I always tell my Chinese friends (some of them come from mainland China) that the Communist theory is very good. I myself believe in Marxism; it is good.

    But when Lenin established a new State and carried out the Bolshevik Revolution with the masses, the idea was pure, very humanistic; thinking about the working class people's rights and equal distribution of wealth (was good).

    But it changed when Lenin brought politics (into the Revolution) particularly at a time when there was a serious civil war within Russia and with outside forces intervening in the civil war.

    Under Lenin, Marxism became mixed with 'power'. Under such circumstances, it created distrust, suspicion. One can understand for the civil war (in Soviet Union), but it later became part of Marxism, (even) during peace time. This is unfortunate.


    The Communist Party is very powerful in China, why is it so afraid to tell the truth?

    That is why we need promotion of moral ethics. It is the third way, without touching religion; just using our common experience, our common sense. To this you should add the latest scientific findings; (scientists also say) a peaceful mind is better (for a good health).

    Using all this, we can educate people about moral ethics for their day to day life. Everybody wants a happy life, happy days and nights.

    Wen Jiabao (the Chinese premier) recently wrote an editorial in People's Daily praising Hu Yaobang (the general secretary of the Communist Party of China who was forced to resign by hardliners in 1987). Do you see this as a progress for Tibet? Hu Yaobang had been good for Tibet!

    This article of Wen Jiabao indicates that there is a strong group (in the Party) who sees that the present condition is not right. This article praising Hu Yaobang indicates that Wen is not happy (about the current situation).

    Hu Yaobang was an extraordinary Communist leader. There is no question about it. (The publication of the article) is positive.

    Another news: There was a letter from (former president) Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao (the current president) in which there was some criticism about Hu Jintao. It has been made public by (vice-president) Xi Jinping. It also gives some small indication.

    I usually divide the last sixty years into four eras: Mao's era, Deng Xiaoping's, Jiang Zemin's and now Hu Jintao's. There have been great changes. Regarding Hu Jintao's era, I very much agree about his promotion of a Harmonious Society, it is very correct.

    But in order to develop this, freedom of speech and expression, transparency is also very important. Hu Jintao does not dare to implement this. Promotion of harmony under the gun is not possible. Hu Jintao is doing this.

    That is not harmony. I think that a large number of people are full of resentment, but they keep quiet. It is hypocrisy to call this harmony. Countries like the US, Europe, Australia, India are generally (considered as) free countries. (In these countries) it is relatively much easier to find close friends that you can trust, with whom you can share your feelings.

    In Communist countries, it is comparatively more difficult. Everywhere, politics, politics, politics, spies are everywhere. In the Tibetan case, it is even worse.

    On several occasions, when Tibetans come from Tibet and meet me in this room, I talked with them. When I ask some sensitive questions, they always look around (before answering). Even in my room!

    They are so suspicious, scared, they fear. It is part of their lives.

    On several occasions, I met some young Chinese who told me, nowadays everywhere they have to carry two faces, one real and one artificial.

    I have also the experience during the nine years of living with the Chinese Communists (between 1950 and 1959). I have learned how to do this (making faces and laughing).

    Last year, I met Zhang Boshu, a famous Chinese scholar; he came to see me in Washington. But after he returned, he was dismissed from his job. One can understand, if any one meets the Demon, it is punishable (laughing).

    Look at India, despite many drawbacks, democracy is deeply rooted in this country. Compared to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India is much, much more stable.

    Although there are different variations, Tamil people use the Tamil language, you have Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya languages and in the North, you have Hindi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, etc and the North-East, Assamese, etc. You have even different scripts!

    This works under a democratic Constitution and an independent judiciary. This is very important.

    Tibetan Culture: a distinction
    I wanted to mention something (else) about Tibetan culture: I spoke about Tibetan ecology, then Tibetan philosophy, now about Tibetan culture.

    I make a distinction between Buddhism and Tibetan culture, though Tibetan culture is very much related to Buddhism.

    I described Tibetan culture as a culture of peace and compassion. This is probably due to the large area (of the Tibetan plateau), the small population and the difficult life. This creates some kind of harmony with nature.

    Due to the natural environment, your own livelihood depends more on others. This creates a sort of closer society, a cohesiveness, a kinship.

    You said there was a cultural genocide in Tibet. Could you explain?
    I said, 'some kind of cultural genocide'; it is because in the eyes of hardliners, their only concern is how to handle Tibet, how to keep Tibet as a part of China.

    (I said this) more than ten years ago, when Chen Kuiyuan was party secretary in Tibet (1992 to 2000). At a party meeting, Chen mentioned that the ultimate threat to China is the Buddhist faith of the Tibetans.

    (Recently), I was in Switzerland, I met some Tibetans. They know well the Tibetan university in Lhasa; they told me that the level of Tibetan studies before Chen Kuiyuan was quite good.

    After Chen became party secretary, it changed. Tibetan texts were banned. Only the Chinese curriculum was allowed and translated into Tibetan; the courses were (conducted) according to this curriculum.

    Chen Kuiyuan saw the unique Tibetan culture heritage as a threat to separate Tibet from China. So he systematically eliminated Tibetan (culture) from Tibet.

    Last year, I met a Tibetan who has settled in Australia and visits Tibet from time to time and brings money to build schools in his native place. Last year, after his return (to Tibet), he told me that one of his friends working in the education field told him the present party secretary (Zhang Qingli) convened a meeting of Han officials only.

    The central government had asked Zhang to make some suggestions. In order to make these suggestions, he convened this meeting with Han officials only. For education, they made the (following) suggestions to the central government: Chinese language should be the first language; it should be taught from kindergarten.

    Then, all schools should emphasise about learning the importance of China and all monasteries should become like in the mainland, just museums with very few monks as caretakers.

    Zhang Qingli made these three suggestions.

    This meeting was held in 2009 (after the Chinese had faced so many problems from these monasteries in March 2008). The meeting suggested a new education policy with these three points. (I don't know) if it is true or not, I have no way to cross-check.

    As mentioned earlier, officially, there is a lot of restrictions about Tibetan studies. When Chen Kuiyuan was there, whatever had a religious meaning was removed (from the curriculum). Then when Jiang Zemin came, new restrictions (were put in place).

    Before party officials could have (in their house) an altar with some Buddha statues; they usually had an excuse like "My old mother likes these statues"; although they are supposed to be genuine Communists, non-believers.

    When Jiang Zemin became chairman, it was not possible anymore. In the meantime, some very high Chinese party officials, including from the PLA, had my picture on their mobiles, the Demon's picture! (Laughing.)

    (Another) thing, because of the overwhelming Han population (in Tibet), we noticed that the behaviour of the young Tibetans who come from Tibet and the Tibetans who are born here is very different.

    Here Tibetans are gentler and the Tibetan spirit is more alive than for those who come from Tibet; the (latter) are very short temperered. They are always ready to fight.

    Whether it is intentional or unintentional, a sort of cultural genocide is taking place.

    (I also noticed that) Chinese living outside (China) who are part of some democratic movements for China do not work harmoniously (between themselves). There is a lack of cooperation, some live in America, some in Australia, in Singapore or France, (but) they are not working together.

    This is the Cultural Revolution generation?
    That's right.

    Because of the Communist regime in China, if someone brings a different idea, he is almost considered an enemy. They have no experience to listen to different views; different ways to agree.

    Often with people who have grown up in a Communist society, if someone with a different opinion comes, they remain distant, they do not cooperate.

    So, I tell the Chinese from mainland China in a friendly manner 'you should forget this habit. There is no harm if when you are ten different people, you have ten different views; hundred people, hundred different views. It is natural. You must learn to listen to others' view and work together.'

    I think that (this habit from the Cultural Revolution) is also some kind of 'cultural genocide'; the Chinese culture is gentler, more humble.

    On Beijing television there was recently a programme to collect money for the Jyekundo earthquake. Individuals and organisations just had to phone and pledge a certain amount of money. In a few hours, 350 million dollars were pledged for the reconstruction of the area.
    Yes, I know, the Chinese people are wonderful people. This, I always felt. And as far as work is concerned, the Chinese are much more hard-working than my Indian friends (laughing). I think it is perhaps due to the climate.

    The German, Swedish, Dutch people are working hard while the Italians, Greeks working less, (they are) a bit lazy! (Laughing.)

    Are there any differences between the Chinese from the South and North?

    But I consider Indians my gurus because we follow the Nalanda tradition.

    All our concepts and way of thinking comes from the Nalanda Masters. Therefore, we are the chelas (disciples) and Indians are our gurus.

    I also often say that we are reliable chelas because after the 8th century, the Nalanda tradition was established in Tibet, after that in our guruji's own home, lots of ups and downs happened.

    Over a thousand years, we have kept intact the Nalanda tradition. That means that we are reliable chelas.

    I describe myself as a Son of India, firstly because my thoughts come from the Nalanda Buddhist tradition and this body has lived on Indian dal, rice and chapattis during the last 51 years.

    So, physically also, I am a Son of India. Sometimes, it irritates the Chinese officials. What to do?

    http://news.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/jul/05/slide-show-1-dalai-lama-interview.htm
    http://news.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/jul/06/slide-show-1-dalai-lama-interview.htm#contentTop
     
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  3. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    Why the Foreign Secretary met the Dalai Lama

    B Raman glances at the foreign secretary's visit to Dharamsala to meet the Dalai Lama against the backdrop of China's recent actions vis-a-vis Pakistan.
    Nirupama Rao, India's [ Images ] foreign secretary, arrived in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh on July 10 and called on His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She was reportedly with him for about an hour.

    His Holiness lives in Dharamsala, where his Tibetan-government-in-exile is located. Senior advisors of His Holiness, including his Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche, were reportedly present during the meeting.

    According to local sources, the welfare of the Tibetan exiles living in India and the adequacy of the physical security arrangements for His Holiness were among the subjects discussed.

    A representative of the Himachal Pradesh state government had stated on July 9 that Rao would visit Dharamsala on July 10 and 11, but he did not indicate whether she would be calling on His Holiness. Foreign secretaries have been paying a courtesy call on His Holiness during their tenure. She herself had planned to make a courtesy call on him on two or three occasions after taking over as the foreign secretary, but the visits were postponed due to her preoccupation with other work.

    In fact, it has been reported that she was to meet His Holiness on July 3 just before Shiv Shankar Menon, the national security adviser, left for China as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy, but her meeting was postponed.

    There was thus nothing unusual or secret about her visit and meeting with His Holiness, but there is likely to be speculation connecting her meeting with India's unhappiness over China's ignoring Indian concerns over the implications to India's national security of China's decisions to help Pakistan in improving its road infrastructure in the Gilgit-Baltistan area and in constructing a railway line to Xinjiang which will pass through Gilgit-Baltistan. These decisions were announced during President Asif Ali Zardari's just-concluded visit to China.

    Gilgit-Baltistan, which is de jure a part of India's Jammu and Kashmir, has been under Pakistan's illegal occupation since 1948. Pakistan had illegally ceded some of the Indian territory in the area occupied by it to China in the 1960s in return for Chinese assistance in the construction of the Karakoram Highway passing through the territory. This highway is also being upgraded now with Chinese assistance.

    The Chinese have sought to play down Indian concerns over their assistance to Pakistan for improving the infrastructure in the Gilgit-Baltistan area by projecting it as meant to promote trade between Pakistan and Xinjiang, but it has serious military implications for India.

    It would enable Pakistan to move its troops and military equipment to these areas across the Line of Control in J&K more rapidly than in the past. It would also enable Chinese troops in Xinjiang to move to this area to assist Pakistan in the event of a military conflict.

    This would further increase the military threat to the Ladakh and Kargil areas where China claims a large area as Chinese territory.

    The military conflict between India and Pakistan in 1999 had broken out in this area after General Pervez Musharraf, the then chief of the army staff under the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, had secretly sent Pakistani troops to the area and occupied some Indian territory in the Kargil sector by taking advantage of the withdrawal of some Indian border posts during winter.

    Even if Rao's visit was not connected with the Chinese decisions announced during Zardari's visit, it is important for the Government of India to express openly and strongly its indignation over the Chinese actions in total disregard of India's legitimate concerns.

    Our policy-makers should also examine what options are available to India to counter the Chinese actions.

    Upgrading the interactions with His Holiness is one option.

    Establishing open contacts with the secular Uighur elements of the Munich-based World Uighur Congress is another option.

    http://news.rediff.com/column/2010/jul/12/braman-on-nirupama-raos-meeting-with-the-dalai-lama.htm
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    In Conversation with the Dalai Lama - July 6th, 2010​




    HHDL predicts that He will live for 113 years. I hope commies watch this interview and sleep well today.
     
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