Amidst the stand-off between India and China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), strategic experts and intellectuals said that to counter Xi Jinping’s ‘One China Policy’, India should support Tibet and Taiwan, and give Dalai Lama more visibility in India’s political circles.
“India should be supporting Tibet and try that the Dalai Lama should be given a higher position and more visibility in India’s political circles. Along with this, we must begin economic and technological engagements with Taiwan, besides supporting it politically,” Director of Vivekananda International Foundation Dr. Arvind Gupta said.
He was speaking at webinar titled, “Revisiting One China policy: Economic and Political Options for India: Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan, and Xinjiang” jointly organized by the Law and Society Alliance and Defense Capital on Friday.
Gupta also recommended garnering India’s support to the democratic movement in Hong Kong, even if India does not join western countries’ joint statements.
He further stressed the need to build India’s own capacity on dealing with China and start “anticipating steps that China could take in case we start deviating from One China Policy”.
“This needs to give an entire rethink on the entire policy on China, which needs to be modified. We also need to think whether we should go at once or gradually work towards it?” he said.
Apart from Gupta, President of Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, Jayadeva Ranade; Secretary General of Forum for Integrated National Secretary, Sheshadri Chari; Editor of Strat News Global and Bharat Shakti, Nitin Gokhale; and Senior Fellow at Peace and Conflict Studies, Abhijit Iyer Mitra also joined the discussion.
The arguments of Nitin Gokhale revolved largely around Taiwan and Tibet.
Exploring India’s policy options on Taiwan he said, “Taiwan is the low hanging fruit as far as a rethink on One China Policy is concerned. We should think of increasing sour economic and technological relations with Taiwan. They are wonderful in electronic chip manufacturing, semiconductors, and 5G – Taiwan is a master in these areas”.
“India’s trade with Taiwan has moved from $66 Million to $6 Billion in the past few years. 90 Taiwanese firms are operating in India. There is some direction towards our Taiwan policy, as we have recently set up a separate desk on Taiwan Invest Organization within the Commerce Ministry. Also, in two instances, Indian MPs have attended the PMs Inauguration ceremony in Taiwan. India is on the verge of a policy change from One China Policy towards Taiwan,” he added.
Talking about Tibet, Gokhale said that not only the Dalai Lama but the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan Government in exile should be provided greater visibility amongst the media, academia, and government events/meetings. Besides, Buddhist diplomacy should be integral to India’s China policy.
“One of the strongest points India has is the roots and familiarity with Buddhist traditions. We should leverage it. Setting up Buddhist Alliance in countries of South Asia and Southeast Asia would be fruitful. India should think about passively helping Tibetans to organize protests when Chinese leaders visit India”, he said.
Similar to other speakers’ views, Jayadeva Ranade advocated that the Dalai Lama needs to be given more prominence on major platforms.
“He should be photographed more with more Indian ministers. Tibet touches us because of Buddhism. We are entering a delicate status with Dalai Lama’s advancing age. Dalai Lama’s advantage is to be taken for two reasons. Firstly, to bring China on back foot in terms of Buddhist leadership. China does not have a good track record on this. Second, we need to build up our own Buddhist religious sites as it is one of the fastest-growing religions of the world.
“Thereby, bringing all the Asian countries business to India. We should also try to link Lumbini with Gaya, Sarnath, and other Buddhist sites in India. We need to prevent China from building the Buddhist circuit connecting Lumbini with China through aerial connectivity,” Ranade said.
Vipindra NC of Defense Capital moderated the webinar and Kumar Vaidyanathan of Law and Society Alliance presented the vote of thanks. Prominent participants of the event were Thinlay Chukki, a member of Central Tibet Administration, Lt Gen. Vinod Bhatia, Abhinav Pandya, besides others.