Alternative Strategies for India towards Tibet: Between Assertion and Measured Silence
While many significant issues have been examined by Chinese and Indian leaders in their foregoing dialogues to normalize relations, the Tibetan question continues to lurk in the dark. The Indian government for its part has been intermittent on its approach to the status of Tibetans in India. While the 2005 visit of Premier Wen Jiabao had elicited hopes of reflection on the Tibet issue between the two countries, the December 2010 visit reflected total red carpeting. The growing disinclination of the two sides to discuss the matter is contextualised best in the burgeoning economic relationship between the two Asian powers.
The reservation from mentioning the ‘One China policy’ in the joint communiqué signed between India and China at the end of the latest Chinese visit also perhaps reflects a rethinking from the perspective of Indian foreign policy agendas. The maintenance of the status quo not only prevents the ‘internationalization’ of the Tibet issue but also fits in the larger policy goal of attaining a permanent seat in the UN Security Council by India. Given India’s geopolitical circumstances, there are only limited options that are available to its leaders. This paper explores a practicable solution to India’s Tibet conundrum through the prism of core interests and political and economic bargaining amongst the three concerned parties.