The Dalai Lama on Thursday said Tibetans were no longer looking for independence, but for development, and for that it is “in our interest to remain with China.” He also said India and China should eventually find respect for each other, and they “have to live side-by-side.”
Speaking at an event organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce on the ‘Revival of Ancient Knowledge’ in Kolkata, he said, “Past is past, we have to look towards future. Since 1974 we are not seeking independence. Tibetans also want modernised Tibet. We need more material development. For that, remaining with China is in our interest, provided they respect Tibet’s unique culture and heritage,” he said, adding, “Eventually we should imagine the world without armament. In my lifetime, this will not be achieved. But the 21st-century generation should keep this in mind… eventually this world should be demilitarised.”
When asked about the recent controversy, in which China objected to President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Arunachal, the Dalai Lama said problems and disputes will keep cropping up between the two nations, but when such an issue arises, both countries need to resort to dialogue to mitigate the conflict. “India and China should eventually find respect for ‘Hindi-Chini bhai bhai’. China needs India, India needs China and they have to live side-by-side. There is no other way except to live peacefully and help each other,” he added.
Exhorting people to solve problems through dialogue “without losing compassion”, the spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, advocated the formation of a European Union-like entity in Asia. “I always admire the spirit of European Union. They recognise that Europe is more important than different nations. I feel (there should be an) union in Asia… India, China, Japan and small countries in this area,” he added.
Talking of American policy in the Middle East, the Tibetan spiritual leader said former US President George W Bush’s motivation to bring democracy in Iraq had been “good”, but his method was “wrong.” “He is a wonderful person. We immediately developed a close level human interaction when we first met. I told him ‘I respect you but I have great reservation for some of your policies’,” said the Dalai Lama. He said he immediately struck a chord with the junior Bush, who was “informal’’, as opposed to Bill Clinton, whom he only became friends with after a series of meetings.
“There are a lot of problems (in Iraq). Now, there is a bad relation with many in the Muslim community. If he was not using force, and used more money for education and scholarships for students, then situation would have been different,” he said.
Speaking on the revival of ancient knowledge, the Dalai Lama said that ancient Indian knowledge was lost in India more than in any other part of the world. He said that he was committed to the revival of ancient Indian knowledge through education. “It is only through the secular nature of education that society can change for the better,’’ he said.