Chennai, Tamil Nadu, 21 January 2009 (Indian Express) - Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Wednesday asserted it was only a ‘matter of time’ before Tibet got ‘autonomy’ from China, and said that he would surrender the privileges attached with his spiritual leadership if Tibet becomes free.
"Yes.. I am sure we will achieve autonomy... it's only a matter of time before that will happen," the Dalai Lama, here on a visit to address the students of Madras University, told reporters in Chennai.
"While the spirit and determination of the present generation of Tibetans is stronger than the previous ones, there is more global awareness about our struggle," he said, adding that their movement had even struck a chord with a section of the people of China.
"Our March 2008 protests had 300 supportive articles from Chinese intelligentsia, such as students, teachers and other intellectuals... the Chinese government must look at our struggle logically and realistically," he said.
He said that in the event of Tibet becoming free, he would ‘surrender the privileges’ attached with his spiritual leadership.
"They (an elected government) know better than me... I cannot be a ruler," he said, adding that he was only a spokesperson of the Tibetans.
The Dalai Lama called for an immediate end to the use of force against the Tibetan people by China, saying stability cannot be created by force, but rather by trust.
"The trust should come out of mutual respect and therefore the people and government of China must deal with the issue realistically and logically," he said.
Stating that he wanted the modernisation and development of Tibet, he asserted that the people would seldom take to violent ways of struggle. This was the best lesson he drew from India (and its Independence struggle).
To a query, he said India's foreign policy towards Tibet and China was ‘over cautious’, but complemented it for offering the ‘best facilities’ to Tibetan refugees.
"No country in the world offers as good educational and other facilities like India does to Tibetan refugees," he said.
Responding to a question on the Sri Lankan issue, he said he was always against force. "It's sad to see so much of violence. I pray and hope for a peaceful resolution of the conflict," he said, adding that such issues could arise out of ‘political manipulation’ of ethnic or religious issues.
When asked for his response to the demand for international intervention in Sri Lanka to ensure peace, he said he did not want to comment on the internal affairs of another country.
"However, eminent persons, such as Nobel laureates can appeal (to Colombo to stop the offensive) in their personal capacity," he said.
Asked if he would do so, Dalai Lama said he would first like to discuss the situation in Sri Lanka with Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon following his trip to the island nation last week.
On the dispute between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh, he said that a Tripartite convention in Shimla in 1914, involving representatives from China, British-India and Tibet had decided that the state belonged to India.
"The Chinese should be realistic in approach as history cannot be changed to suit political necessities," he said.