Lhasa echoes in parliament, China asks India to be ‘objective’

March 17th, 2008 - 10:31 pm ICT by admin  

By Manish Chand
New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) As Tibetan activists made another foiled attempt to storm the Chinese embassy here and the Lhasa violence echoed in the Indian parliament, Beijing Monday reminded New Delhi of the growing ties between them and hoped it will not be taken in by “rumours created by the Dalai clique.” “We hope that Indian friends can clearly see the nature of those instigating and conspiring activities of the Dalai clique, which aim at splitting China and disrupting Beijing Olympics,” Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yan told select journalists at the Chinese embassy here.

As the Monday midnight deadline set by China for Tibetan protesters to surrender approached, the Chinese envoy also urged “Indian friends” not to believe the “rumours created by the Dalai clique and anti-China forces and maintain an objective and correct stand, and avoid any irresponsible words and acts.”

The envoy said the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing and the Chinese embassy in New Delhi have been in touch with the Indian government about the developments in Tibet.

“I will convey the same to the Indian government when I meet the Indian officials,” he said when asked whether this advice was addressed to the Indian media or the Indian government.

Stressing that he was making this statement at the instruction of the Chinese government, the envoy vehemently rebutted reports of any “crack down” on Tibetan protesters and said steps taken by the Chinese government to control “organized premeditated and elaborately-planned” violence by the “Dalai Lama clique” in Lhasa was in line with the law.

“There was no such thing as the cracking down,” he said at the Chinese embassy which has turned virtually into a fortress with Indian security personnel on alert outside the embassy to thwart any attempts by Tibetan protesters to storm the embassy.

The government here, however, found itself on the defensive for allegedly soft-peddling the Tibetan issue with opposition MPs staging a walkout in the upper house of parliament over the issue.

“India has been following the same policy towards China since 1959. Successive governments have not changed it” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday said in defence, while quoting from a statement made by the external affairs ministry Saturday.

In a delicate balancing act, India Saturday said it was “distressed” at violence in Lhasa and called for a non-violent end to the crisis in Tibet by appealing to all parties to improve the situation and remove the causes of such trouble in Tibet even as it reiterated that the Tibetan Autonomous Region was part of China.

India has crucial stakes in Tibet as it is in some sense crucial to the ongoing attempts at resolving its border dispute with and China. Beijing claims the Tawang monastery, situated in Arunachal Pradesh, to be part of Tibet, and, therefore, part of its territory. India has recognized the Tibetan Autonomous Region to be part of China, but has rejected China’s claim on its northeastern state Arunachal Pradesh even as the two countries are engaged in talks to resolve the long-standing issue.

Moreover, a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue is in India’s interest as nearly 200,000 Tibetan refugees currently live in the Indian territory. India granted asylum to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, who has set up the his government-in-exile in Dharamsala and has been living in the country after he fled Tibet in 1959. India has, however, made it clear to the Dalai Lama that it will not tolerate any political activities by the Tibetan activists on its soil.

Raising the issue, BJP deputy leader in Lok Sabha V.K. Malhotra alleged that there was “cultural annihilation” by Beijing in Tibet. “More than 100 people were killed. There were protests all over. But India is silent,” he alleged.

Over 48 Indian MPs cutting across party lines came out in support of protesting the Tibetan cause even as street marches continued in the capital against the reported crackdown in Tibet.

Carrying Tibetan flags, placards, banners and spray paint, a group of 80-strong Tibetan and Indian students of Delhi University joined the protest and tried to barge into the Chinese embassy in the capital’s high security Chanakyapuri area in the afternoon, but were thwarted by the police.

The Chinese envoy profusely thanked the Indian government for making all arrangements to secure the safety of the embassy.

The Dalai Lama has appealed to China not to use force, and address “the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with the Tibetan people.” He also appealed to fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence

Meanwhile, global pressure mounted on China over its handling of the unrest with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling on Beijing to open talks with the Dalai Lama.

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