Sunday, April 13, 2008

Do we have a Tibet in India?

"Free Tibet" slogan is in. Boycott Beijing games, do not carry the Olympic torch..

So Girish Shahane asks in Times of India today: "Free Tibet. And What about Kashmir?"

I found many of the arguments made in the article interesting, and it is true that "the problem of Jammu and Kashmir is the elephant in the room which Indians debating Tibet are doing their darndest to ignore" and that In India, "there is no public or political pressure" to resolve such issues that plague us. Below are some more lines from the article for those who do not have time to read all of it.

"..those who support the idea of an independent Tibet are misguided, and Indians who do so are hypocritical to boot.."

".. The former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha argued we should intervene to secure Tibet's freedom: "We want good relations with China. I am not saying let's have war with China. But if we reach a point of conflict over Tibet, we should be prepared for that eventuality.."

"..Kashmir exacts a toll even when it is not in the headlines. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced from their homes. There's the daily harassment of ordinary citizens fomenting resentment. And there's the expense of maintaining a massive security presence in the region.

The Siachen misadventure alone costs us some 1,500 crore rupees a year, and has led to the death of perhaps 2,000 Indian army men.."

".. Pakistan, which in the past has played a largely negative role, favouring insurrection over negotiation, has altered its stance, and offered a number of creative options for the state's future.

Our neighbour is looking beyond the binary of victory and defeat, and so should we.."

[This is not the first time parallels are being drawn between the two issues. There was a game of words between Pakistan and India about five years back but the context was different. It was at a time when Vajpayee said on his visit to China that Tibet was an integral part of China.]

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