Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeDiplomacyTibetan government quietly changed its PM’s designation. India won’t be unhappy about...

Tibetan government quietly changed its PM’s designation. India won’t be unhappy about it

Text Size:

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.

Also read: India once thought this monk was a Chinese spy. Now, Modi govt will welcome him back

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.”

Also read: New Delhi worries as China digs out gold in Tibet next to Indian border in Arunachal


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. You (writer) cannot judge by looking at the materialistic development, than I should say that India should remain with British. So that it would be more developmental than the current situation of India. One thing want to clear you that there is a more Chinese inside Tibet. Tibetans became minority’s and have lesser opportunities. Obviously one doesn’t want to change their culture with Chinese…think about it. Your press is against minority Tibetans and want to suppress voice of our people. I feel you got some bribes from China. Remember 1962 war.

  2. With the passage of time, the value of the Tibet card, such as it may have been, is fading away. This is an issue India and China could deal with while fashioning a new equilibrium.

Comments are closed.

Most Popular