DHARAMSALA, June 9: Several hundred Tibetans and supporters protested in the Indian capital and urged the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to raise the issue of Tibet on Sunday as Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi visited India in a bid to improve bilateral ties between the two countries.
The Tibetan protesters’ initial plan to hold a rally outside the Chinese Embassy in Chanakyapuri was foiled by the Delhi police as they were locked down by the security forces at the Tibetan colony in Majnu Ka Tilla area in North Delhi.
Within the confines of barricades and in the presence of scores of policemen keeping a watchful eye on the turn of events, Tibetan protesters carrying Tibetan national flag and placards raised slogans condemning Chinese repression in Tibet which in recent years has led to a wave of self-immolation protests by more than 130 Tibetans and also urged the Indian PM, Modi to raise the issue of Tibet during his meeting with the Chinese foreign minister.
In a statement released on June 7, Tibetan Youth Congress, the organizer of the Tibetan demonstration said it had submitted a memorandum to PM Modi, urging him to raise the issue of Tibet when he meets the Chinese Foreign Minister and noted that lasting peace and security for India lies only in a free Tibet.
“TYC urges Prime Minister Modi to help bring about immediate and positive change for Tibet as well as India. We believe that a lasting peace and security for India lies only in a free Tibet. A Tibet without China’s military presence is the only assurance you can have of an India free from constant Chinese incursions as well as ludicrous claims on the borders,” TYC said in the statement.
After the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters at a media briefing that all issues of perennial nature and issues of interest were discussed in a frank and cordial manner during the meeting. The MEA spokesperson summarized the meeting as a “productive new beginning between the new government of India and the Chinese government”.
“As the Chinese saying goes ‘a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step’ and that step was taken today,” Akbaruddin said.
To a question raised by a reporter whether the issue of Tibet came up during the meeting considering the fact that Tibetans have written to the Prime Minister that the issue be raised, Akbaruddin replied: “I think, rather than going into a step by step account, I did mention that all issues of perennial nature which are issues of interest between India and China were discussed in a very cordial atmosphere. I will not get into which was raised and which was not raised. Its for you to make that judgement and take a call of what you consider…when there is a comprehensive engagement across all issues…..what was discussed and what is[sic] not discussed will not be indicated but it is certainly indicated that this was a comprehensive discussion.”
Foreign Minister Wang is scheduled to meet the Indian PM Narendra Modi on Monday, June 9.