BJP confused by Yashwant Sinha’s Tibet stand

April 8th, 2008 - 8:07 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha’s surprise observations on Tibet, calling for its “complete freedom” from China Monday, has confused his colleagues in India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Going against BJP’s stated position on Tibet, Sinha said at a seminar organised by Himalaya Parivar: “Tibet should be given complete freedom and even the Dalai Lama should demand nothing short of this”.

Sinha’s remarks at the forum linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were out of sync with not only his party’s position but also his own earlier stand.

As foreign minister in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government, Sinha played a crucial role in ironing out the creases in Sino-Indian ties. The NDA and he went along with India’s long-held position that Tibet was an “integral part” of China.

Sinha himself tried to play down his remarks a day later.

“I was not speaking at a party forum. Till now, the party stand is based on the letter written by L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh and Jaswant Singh to the prime minister recently (in which they have supported autonomy for Tibet) when the issue erupted again,” Sinha told IANS Tuesday.

His party was not so sure what to make of the remarks.

Three of its spokespersons, Prakash Javadekar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, came up with different responses when asked about the BJP’s stand on Sinha’s observation.

“Sinha’s comments come in the light of a changed situation in Tibet. The BJP, too, is thinking along those lines. After reflecting on what is going on in Tibet, there is a change in the party’s stand,” said Naqvi.

“Autonomy is the first step towards complete freedom,” he added.

Javadekar said: “He (Sinha) said what he had to say. I will not comment on it.”

Rudy said: “Sinha is vice-president of the party and also our former external affairs minister. But I can comment only after I discuss the issue with the BJP leadership.”

Sinha added: “The Dalai Lama has taken the stand for autonomy and not complete freedom under pressure as he cannot take a political stand on Indian soil.”

He blasted the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for being “weak” in its dealing with China on the Tibet issue.

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