President of the Tibetan Government-in-exile Penpa Tsering on January 3 asserted that all incursions along the Indo-Tibetan border have been one-sided and by China.
In an interview to PTI, the President, also called Sikyong, said since Tibet had signed the treaty of 1914 which set the border between his homeland and India along the McMohan line, Tawang is an integral part of India.
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“We know all incursions are happening from the Chinese side,” Mr. Tsering said in Kolkata.
He was speaking in the context of recent clashes at Tawang and at Ladakh between the Indian Army and China’s PLA.
“Till 1959, there was no border between India and China; it was with Tibet … We are signatories to the 1914 Simla agreement between British India and Tibet and we stand very firm on the McMohan line as the legitimate border,” he said.
“We fully recognise Tawang to be an integral part of India,” Mr. Tsering said.
In 1959, the Dalai Lama, the then head of the Tibetan Government had fled Lhasa for India after an uprising by Tibetans which was brutally crushed by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Though Communist China invaded Tibet in 1950, the Dalai Lama’s Government continued to function with an Army of its own in an arrangement with the Beijing which designated Tibet as an autonomous region.
Border disputes with India came to the fore after the Dalai Lama’s escape with his followers when the Chinese contested the McMohan line through statements.
“China’s belligerence is without any provocation from the Indian side,” the President said, adding that “India standing up to its position sends a very strong message to China.”
Indian and Chinese troops clashed at Yangtse, north east of Tawang, in a hand to hand combat which left several soldiers injured on both sides.
“China respects only power,” Mr. Tsering said. The Sikyong or President is directly elected by the Tibetan diaspora living in various parts of the world ever since Tibetan refugees fled the “roof of the world” in the wake of the Dalai Lama’s escape from Lhasa to India.
The Dalai Lama remains the spiritual head of all Tibetan Budhists and many others who have become his follower, but the administration of Tibetan organisations and its relationship with the outside world is headed by the Sikyong.
President Tsering pointed out that China has disputes with many Asian countries and has been unwilling to settle them.
“When it comes to U.S.-China relations, they [the Chinese] complain they are not treated as equals but when it comes to other countries in Asia, they never treat them equally,” President Tsering asserted.
He claimed China has a policy of keeping “hot spots like Taiwan, South China Sea and Tawang burning” in order to divert attention to its own failings.
He said that China had not been successful in keeping its economic momentum up and had not been able to control the Covid situation at home.
“Now that the whole world has recovered, they want to export Covid again … that is what is very, very irresponsible,” he said.