Issue :   
December 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         December 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Dec' 2017


How the Tibetan cause was lost !

Jagdish N Singh

It is hardly surprising that communist China has objected to our Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing has since long been claiming our Arunachal Pradesh as a disputed territory . It routinely objects to our top officials' visit to the area. In harmony with this pattern of behaviour , Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a media briefing last month, "There is a dispute on the eastern section of the China- India boundary. So this visit by the Indian side to the disputed area is not conducive to the peace and tranquillity of the relevant region."

Jawaharlal Nehru C h u n y i n g counselled New Delhi to work with Beijing for p r o p e r resolution of the issue through dialogue and create an enabling environment and conditions. She hoped India would "work with China for the shared goal, seek a solution acceptable to both sides and accommodate" China's "concerns in a balanced way."
Objectively speaking, New Delhi alone is to blame for such occasional Chinese assertions on India's territory. History bears out Tibet had been an independent nation since ancient times. An independent Tibet conceded part of what is our Arunachal Pradesh today to India. Until the 1914 Shimla Convention, Tawang (A.P) was a part of Tibet's Tsona district ruled by the Tibetan administration directly. Tibetan authority over this land continued up to 1950. (Siddiq Wahid, Tibet's relations with the Himalayas, p.191). The sixth Dalai Lama was born in Tawang. He was a Monpa in ethnicity. On October 16, 1947 Lhasa even cabled New Delhi for the restoration of a wide swathe of territory from Ladakh to Assam. This territory included Sikkim as well. ( ibid , p.139). There was no such demand after the 14th Dalai Lama took over in Lhasa in 1950.

Dalai Lama The post-colonial New Delhi cared little for this reality and left the autonomy of Tibet in the hands of communist China. Our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's policy was to make China ensure the autonomy of Tibet until T i b e t a n s t h ems e l v e s d e t e rmi n e d whether China would have suzerainty or sovereignty over their land.
Probably, Nehru assumed that China would honour the spirit of the 1914 Simla Convention between British India, China and Tibet and the 1951 Tibet-PRC Agreement and Tibet would flourish together with India and China as an autonomous region. Nehru thought Beijing would abide by all the territorial agreements independent Tibet had arrived at with India. In 1950, when Chinese troops 'liberated' Tibet, Nehru even warned Beijing that "the recognized boundary between India and Tibet should remain inviolate." (ibid, p. 147).

Atal Bihari Vajpayee Later , Prime Minister Nehru did confess he was "living in the artificial world of my own creation." But it was too late. He died soon after the Chinese aggression of 1962. Regrettably, none of Nehru's successors has taken appropriate steps to restore to Tibet its traditional genuine autonomy. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's policy turned rather worse. Vajpayee conveniently forgot the whole of Tibet when he conceded the T i b e t a n Autonomous Region as "part of the territory of the PRC."
New Delhi under Vajpayee acknowledged Chinese sovereignty over Tibet in the 2003 Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation between India and China" (ibid, p.150). During Vajpayee's China visit (2003), Beijing did concede Sikkim as part of India but this was not explicitly recorded in any written formulation. (ibid). Beijing has used this to shift its position on Sikkim from time to time.

B. R. Ambedkar Sardar Patel Beijing has used New Delhi's Tibet policy to claim Arunachal Pradesh. Its argument has been that Tibet ceded some of its territory when China was weak. New Delhi must return all that back to China after the Indian government has already declared Tibet as part of one communist China.
New Delhi would do well to think afresh its Tibet policy. It must work for a genuinely autonomous Tibet and for a decent return of the Tibetan Spiritual leader Dalai Lama to his homeland .This alone could neutralize communist China's claim on any part of what once was in Tibet. Given his commitment to preserve the precious ageold Indo-Tibetan linkages, the Dalai can be expected to legally justify the relevant treaty Lhasa signed with New Delhi conceding India's sovereignty over any 'disputed' part in the region.
Needless to say, India's border is with Tibet. Dr B R Ambekar rightly observed once: "Instead of according recognition to China in 1949, had India accorded this recognition to Tibet, there would have been no Sino-Indian border conflict." Our first Home Minister Sardar Patel candidly lamented long time back : "The tragedy of Tibet is that Tibetans put faith in us, they chose to be guided by us and we have been unable to get them out of the meshes of Chinese diplomacy or malevolence."
When will New Delhi learn from Nehru's historic confession and Ambedkar-Patel's righteous lamentations on Tibet?

Criminals in politics

The Supreme Court of India It is good that our Supreme Court has asked the Centre to come up with a scheme to establish special courts to try politicians facing criminal cases. The governments at the Centre and in the States must act and not pretend any paucity of funds for any delay in setting up such courts across the country. The country needs judicial officers, prosecutors, other officers and all infrastructure for the same at the earliest.
Pertinently, the Apex Court has also sought details of the status of 1,581 cases involving candidates who had disclose details of pending criminal proceedings against them while filing their nominations for the 2014 elections. A March 2014 Supreme Court order had directed that all cases against politicians be disposed of within one year.
According to an estimate, 34 per cent of our Members of Parliament have criminal cases pending against them. The government must purge all criminal elements for ever. Under the present law, a convicted person is disqualified for contesting elections only for six years from the date of release from prison.
At present, the influential accused politicians are able to skip in serious criminal cases. There is a protracted and repeatedly postponed trial. The accused often get bail. Many of them are able to engage in routine political activity, fighting elections or even holding public office. This must stop.

Villains of peace

Dineshwar Sharma Last month the Centre's Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma visited Srinagar. Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau official, has been tasked with initiating and "carrying forward a dialogue" with elected representatives, various organisations and individuals concerned in our long troubled Valley. Will this mission click?
Knowledgeable sources say it would be too early to say anything at this stage. But prospects are not bright. There are too many villains of peace in the valley. During Sharma's first visit, several trade bodies refused to meet him. There is little change in the behavior of violent secessionists. The hard-line Hurriyat conference, led by Syed Ali Geelani, rejected any dialogue with Sharma.. Besides, some of the so-called mainstream leaders are spreading hatred among the people against the Centre. National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah has said, "India didn't treat us well. India betrayed us." He said internal autonomy "is our right... India should restore it. PoK belongs to Pakistan."

Let's fight slavery !

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Do you think slavery is an issue of the past? No, it is still alive and kicking. Noted British Professor of Politics Raphael Cohen-Almagor says, "There are various estimates about the number of slaves in the world today. There are no exact numbers. Approximately, 40- 50 million people are subjected to women, child and organ trafficking, forced labour, and forced soldiering. The powerful people exploit the vulnerable and use them, making profit at their expense, subjecting them to harassment, abuse, threats, poor living conditions and torture. The estimated number of slaves in the UK is 13,000."
He suggests, " The first step to fight slavery is to promote awareness of its existence. Slavery – past and present -- should be taught at all schools, primary and high schools, making it a mandatory subject. When there is awareness, more people will protest against it. This will prompt politicians to assert influence, allocate resources and reduce its numbers. We need decent politicians to put the issue on their agenda, to instruct police that they should allocate manpower to fight against it, to work with business to ascertain that they are not involved in slavery."
Cohen-Almagor laments, "Many powerful people benefit from slavery. They have an interest to keep it quiet, under the carpet. Many UK companies publish a tender in Asia or Africa and then pick the cheapest option, not enquiring about their suppliers' business model. There is need to promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)."