Has India Given a Strong Message to China as Prominent Tibetan Leader Meets US State Sec. Blinken?

There are more than 10,000 Tibetans living in Dharamshala, a town in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile and residence of the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 and settled in India. The town has become popular among tourists, with thousands of people pouring in to visit the Tibetan monasteries.

India and the US appear to have conveyed a strong political message to their rival China on Wednesday. The tone of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s two-day visit was set when he met with prominent Tibetan leaders in Delhi earlier today.  

Blinken met Geshe Dorji Damdul, the current director of Tibet House, which was founded by top Tibetan Buddhist leader Dalai Lama in 1965 to preserve and disseminate the unique cultural heritage of Tibet. The former interpreter of the Dalai Lama, Damdul, was part of a group of civil society leaders who met Blinken for a roundtable discussion. 

Additionally, the visiting Secretary of State also met a senior representative of the Tibetan government-in-exile – Ngodup Dongchung. 

“Secretary Blinken had an opportunity to meet briefly this morning in New Delhi with a representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” a US State Department spokesperson stated. 

Early this month, Republican MP Scott Perry from Pennsylvania introduced a resolution in the US Congress, calling on President Joe Biden to declare Tibet an independent country. The 2021 Tibet Bill also urged Washington to recognise the “democratically elected government of Tibet, presently named as the Central Tibetan Administration, as the only governing authority of Tibet”.

Last month, the US Senate passed a bipartisan Bill to heed the call to open a consulate in Lhasa. It also called for reinforcing the global engagement on policy towards the reincarnation of His Holiness — the Dalai Lama. 

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