Tibet’s move is part of a series of steps as India starts to prepare to deal with a post-Dalai Lama world.
New Delhi: Last week ThePrint reported that The Karmapa Lama, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is negotiating the terms of his return with the Indian government as New Delhi looks to prepare for a post-Dalai Lama world. As it turns out, among other steps to address the looming situation, the Tibetan government-in-exile earlier quietly changed the designation of Lobsang Sangay, its elected ‘prime minister’, to ‘president’ of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
The Tibetan government’s move, to sidestep Chinese criticism that it was not just a spiritual organisation but also a political one, came days after the Dalai Lama visited Arunachal Pradesh on 4 April, 2017.
Sangay dismissed speculation about the change in his designation, putting it down to a difference in the English interpretation from Tibetan.
“When the Dalai Lama gave up his temporal responsibilities in 2012, and I was elected as the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, my designation changed from ‘Kalon Tripa’ to ‘Sikyong’,” Sangay said, explaining the difference.
The term ‘Sikyong,’ he said, was always closer to the ‘president’ of the CTA, even though the media continued to refer to him as the ‘prime minister-in-exile’.
Sangay also told ThePrint that the Karmapa Lama will not be taking US citizenship and will return to India in November to attend a conference called by the Dalai Lama for all the heads of the Tibetan lineages.
Delhi is eagerly hoping the Karmapa Lama will return to India from the US, where he has lived for the past year.
“He must come. Without speculation, he has to come for the meeting so he will come back to India. The meeting is held every three years and it is mandatory for him to come,” said Sangay, “He has not been offered US citizenship. It is not so easy… And he won’t be taking it up.”
Sangay also called the rumours about the ill-health of the Dalai Lama as “nonsense” and said “he was all over Ladakh recently. His health is very good”.
In the swirl of mounting speculation around the health of the ageing Dalai Lama, 83, Sangay also met Rasthriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur earlier this week. He described the meeting to ThePrint as a “courtesy call”.
However according to the official CTA website, the RSS chief described India and Tibet as “family,” and “assured his support (and to) render his voice to raise the issue of Tibet”.
Sangay also denied that the Dalai Lama had been derogatory about Nehru by calling him ‘self-centred’ at a recent event. He said “the Dalai Lama was misunderstood… he is a great admirer of Pandit Nehru.” He also said “if there is anyone who is the biggest admirer of India, it is the Dalai Lama.”