November 15, 2006Foreign Affairs

Don’t restrain Tenzin Tsundue

The UPA government’s step to please the Chinese leader is not only shameful. It is self-defeating

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

It is necessary for the Indian government to ensure the safety and security of foreign dignitaries it hosts. It is also sensible, to an extent, to ensure that they are not unduly heckled and embarrassed during their trip. Neither of these, though, justifies the restrictions the Indian government has placed on Tenzin Tsundue, a Tibetan activist, ahead of the Chinese president’s visit. [via Tibet will be free]

Tenzin is a spirited protestor. But his methods are non-violent. Non-violence is not a strategy for us” he writes, It is a holistic way of living; it is our basic principle for life”. That should completely address concerns over President Hu’s security. And if the Indian government is that concerned that his protests may prove an eyesore for Hu and therefore an embarrassment for his hosts, then it should place perimeter restrictions that prevent Tsundue from getting into the Chinese president’s field of vision. There is no justification for any restraints that go beyond this.

Meanwhile, China itself has not shown an appreciation for its hosts’ sensitivities ahead of the trip—it has not hesitated to make it clear that its stand on the border dispute remains unchanged. So UPA government’s Nehruvian kow-towing to China’s sensibilities is as unreciprocated now as during Nehru’s own time.

That the UPA government’s foreign policy is hijacked by its Communist allies should now be clear. Owing to pressure from the Left, the UPA government declined to invite US President Bush to address a joint session of parliament. This act of ungraciousness was accompanied by the entire Left/liberal brigade making a nuisance of itself during Bush’s visit. But different rules apply for President Hu’s visit—the Communists are batting for Beijing as usual, and the government deems it necessary to repress those who are opposed to China.

The Indian government would do well to reverse the travel ban on Tenzin Tsundue. Not merely because it is the right thing to do, but also because of the message it would send to Beijing. Not because it is about Tibet. But because it is about India.

Tailpiece: The Indian media is yet to report this story.

Update: There has been a related discourse on the legal nationality of Indian born Tibetans. Here’s an earlier post on securing the future of Tibetan-Indians.

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