Many people believe that India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru “made a blunder” when he recognised China’s claim over Tibet but he did what he thought was best for his country, said the President of the Tibetan government in exile.
President Penpa Tsering however, told reporters in Washington that he thinks India has changed its stance over the Tibet issue after 2014.
President Tsering is in the United States to meet top officials of the Biden Administration and members of the US Congress.
Responding to a question, he said Jawaharlal Nehru’s decisions over Tibet were due to his own world vision and he had “too much faith and confidence in China”.
“I don’t blame only Pandit Nehru for doing that. We understand that the national interest comes first for every nation and he did what he thought was best for India at that time,” President Tsering said, adding that not only India, but several other counties too conceded China’s claim over the nation of Tibet.
“With the benefit of hindsight, now many think that Pandit Nehru made a blunder. In fact, he trusted China so much that when China invaded India in 1962, some believe that he was so hurt that it’s one of the reasons for his death,” he claimed.
Such was the trust on the Chinese that when then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru met China’s Mao Zedong in the 1950s, he gave the catchphrase “Hindi-Chini bhai bhai” (Indians-Chinese are brothers).
The Tibetan President went on to say that things however, have changed in India since 2014. “I think India has changed his (Nehru’s) policy by not repeating that Tibet is part of PRC (People’s Republic of China) because India’s position is that if India has to abide by the ‘One China’ policy, then China also has to abide by the ‘One India’ policy regarding Kashmir and Ladakh,” said President Tsering.
Alluding to the Chinese aggression in Doklam and Galwan in eastern Ladakh, the Tibetan President said, “When the Chinese Foreign Minister came (to India) a few weeks ago, it was more like a transit visit… nothing came out of that visit. That also shows India’s policy towards Tibet and China,” he added.
In Washington DC, President Tsering has so far met House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights; and Kurt Campbell, President Biden’s top Adviser on Indo-Pacific.
“Even though Ukraine is the global hot spot now due to the Russian invasion, the Biden Administration has not forgotten Tibet,” he said, urging the White House and the US Congress to help create a global coalition against China and challenge its narrative over Tibet.
“Tibet has never been part of China,” he said, adding that he sees a fresh impetus from the Biden Administration on Tibet.
“There is likely to be more engagement on the issue of Tibet and several bills are in the pipeline in the Congress on the Tibetan issue. The Tibet policy of the Biden Administration is more pronounced,” he noted.