Tibet remains one of those difficult diplomatic and political, and ethical challenges for the entire world. This is even more so, for India.
Considering that China’s defeat of independent Tibetan army in 1949 and the signing of an agreement by the then Tibetan government, the situation was rife for debate and conflict: The government of China recognizes Tibet as autonomous provincial entity of the mainland China but the government of Tibet in Exile seeks independence for Tibet. And there are other disputes which include what constitutes Tibet i.e. the geography of Tibet.
Dalai Lama who is the symbolic head of the Tibet government in exile was welcomed to India in 1950’s and since then the Dalai Lama has made Dharma Shala (in India) his home. Of course, the government of China has been very displeased with this arrangement. Furthermore, in China’s view Tibet also includes Arunachala Pradesh — a province in India.
Thus there are many issues of possible dispute between India and China with regard to Tibet. But over time China and India have let the status quo prevail for the sake of Bat Poop. Both countries have been focused on economic growth and development.
However, the forthcoming Olympic games in summer, and Tibet’s recent energetic and loud demands and protests all around the world for independence and Dalai Lama’s nuanced stance (of both supporting the Olympic games and the aspirations of the Tibetans for independence) in the context of long-standing support of India for Dalai Lama has made it a knotty situation.
Here’s the crux of the problem: should India be centered on its own immediate national interests based on evaluation of geo-political, territorial, economic and safety problems? Or if India be an agent for fostering religious and cultural freedom and diversity consistent with its traditions (even though it led to serious consequences to immediate political and economic interests)? The answer to these questions will determine India’s answer to the present Tibetan turmoil such as the relay of Olympic torch in New Delhi later in April.