The Takshashila Institution hosted a discussion with the Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile Hon. Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay at The Park, Bangalore on 3rd September 2015. The topic of the discussion was “Tibet and geopolitics of Asia”.
Dr. Sangay is the Sikyong (equivalent to the Prime Minister) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), which governs from Dharmasala in Himachal Pradesh. The Sikyong is the head of the Kashag or Cabinet, which forms the executive branch of the CTA. Dr. Sangay has served as the Sikyong since 2011. He is also a legal scholar — he was a Fulbright Scholar to Harvard Law School, specialising in Tibetan Law and Human Rights Law.
Dr. Sangay began the discussion by explaining the contours of the Tibetan resistance against the Chinese government. He said that the urban areas in Tibet now have a Han Chinese majority population due to sustained migration from other areas of China. The Chinese occupation of Tibet has made life difficult for the ordinary Tibetans. Despite China’s belligerent acts of provocation, the Sikyong emphatically reinstated the Tibetan commitment to a non-violent struggle. He also mentioned that his government seeks genuine autonomy within China, and not sovereignty.
In the second part of the talk, Dr. Sangay spoke about the importance of Tibet to India. He mentioned how the Tibetan monasteries in India were serving the needs of Indians in the border-states from Jammu Kashmir up to Arunachal Pradesh, inculcating in them the essential ideas of non-violence and resistance to Chinese aggression. He said that these monasteries were the only living example of the ancient Nalanda tradition.
Dr. Sangay expressed his gratitude towards the Indian government. He was generous in his praise for successive governments of the state of Karnataka because this state now has the largest number of Tibetans in India.
The talk was attended by Rajeev Gowda—Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka; Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson—Arghyam Trust; Manish Sabharwal, Chairman—Teamlease services; academics from leading institutes of Bangalore and former ambassadors of the Government of India.