Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, commenting upon Tibet’s relationship with China, said on Thursday that the country does not seek independence from China but wants greater development. At an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata, the Dalai Lama said that though there have been incidents of “fight” between China and Tibet, the two countries enjoyed a close relationship.
Taking a positive stand on the issue, he said “The past is past. We will have to look into the future.” He also clarified that the people of Tibet are not against China and want to stay with the latter. “We are not seeking independence… We want to stay with China. We want more development,” news agency PTI quoted the spiritual leader as saying.
He further said that the Tibetans want China to accept the differences between the two countries and respect their culture and heritage. “Tibet has a different culture and a different script… The Chinese people love their own country. We love our own country,” he said.
The Dalai Lama expressed that they feel a lack of understanding on part of China and said that the latter does not “understand what had happened in the last few decades…With China joining the world, it has changed 40 per cent to 50 per cent of what it was earlier.”
He then went on to talk about the ecological significance of the Tibetan Plateau and recalled that a Chinese ecologist had said its environmental impact was like that of the South Pole and the North Pole. “The ecologist called it the Third Pole,” the Buddhist leader said.
Talking about the significance of Tibet the Dalai Lama said, “From Yangtze to Sindhu rivers, major rivers … come from Tibet. Billions of lives are involved. Taking care of the Tibetan Plateau is not only good for Tibet but for billions of people.”
The Tibetan spiritual also commented upon the people of India, calling them lazier than the Chinese but the also lauded India for its ‘stability’ and ‘diversity’. Compared to the Chinese, “I think, Indian people are lazy”, he said. “May be it is due to the climate. But India is most stable. In the world stage, India can play a role,” the Dalai Lama said.
He also praised India for its “spirit of religious tolerance” and for harmonious existence of diverse traditions together. “India has a tradition of living together. (It is) a living example of different traditions being carried together,” the spiritual leader said. “I can proudly state the same about Tibetan culture,” he said.
Praising to India’s ‘religious pluralism,’ he said for the last several centuries, Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam had coexisted. He also emphasised on the need to maintain religious harmony despite differences and said,”Religious tolerance is very important… although there are problems sometimes due to politicians who try to manipulate that.”
Talking about the Doklam stand-off between the Indian and Chinese army, the monk said these were ‘small problems’. “The Chinese Army had come. Then there was ceasefire. Then withdrew. It is not easy,” he said. He called for peace between the two nations and added that China and India needed each other and should uphold the spirit of ‘Hindi-Chini bhai bhai’.
On lighter note, he made a remark on the ‘genuine’ smile of the Indians, while the Chinese officials he said, “are experts in giving artificial smiles”.