Sunday, April 2, 2017

Why China, India and the Dalai Lama are pushing the boundaries

Debasish Roy Chowdhury, South China Morning Post

Image from article, with caption: Tibetans living in exile in India attend a peace march held to observe Tibetan National Uprising day in the suburb of McLeod Ganj, the seat of the Central Tibetan Administration in exile, near Dharamshala, India. 

A small Himalayan district is the focus of intense diplomatic heat stemming from long-standing, unresolved border issues reignited by a planned visit from the Tibetan spiritual leader

Beijing ... is losing sleep over ...[the Dalai Lama's] planned trip this week to Tawang, a small district on the western flank of what India calls its Arunachal Pradesh state in its northeast and China claims as its own South Tibet territory. This sleepy 2,000 sq km Himalayan district with less than 50,000 people has become the newest flashpoint between China and India, sparking a fresh round of jousting over their disputed border and the Dalai Lama. ...
The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said he may be the last one, and whether he will reincarnate or not would depend on the circumstances after his death. China has made it clear that it will choose the next Dalai Lama.
Apart from China’s interest in locking in the succession in its favour after the Dalai Lama passes away, its posturing aims to isolate him while he is alive and “quarantine the Tibet issue” internationally, said Anand [Dibyesh Anand, author of Tibet: A Victim of Geopolitics, and head of the department of politics and international relations at the University of Westminster in Britain]. “The active profile of the Dalai Lama and his followers in exile keeps Tibet alive as a political issue that can be used by India or US for their own strategic purpose. For China, a border dispute with India is a matter of strategic interest, but Tibet is about nationalist intransigence. This is a battle for public diplomacy and internal order, as well as a flexing of geopolitical muscle.” 

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