As a first step, Indian army officers attended a Tibetology course “to gain in-depth knowledge and strengthen their ties” with the Tibetan community in border areas, India’s defense ministry said. The 42-day course was taken by officers from the Indian Army, JCO, etc. at the Central Institute of Himalayan and Cultural Studies, Dahung, Arunachal Pradesh. More such courses on Tibetology are planned for the future.
A statement by Lt. Col. AS Walia, Defense Press Officer, Tezpur said that “officers undertook research on topics such as Tibetan Buddhism, the people of Tibet, the Sinicization of Tibet and the political system in Tibet before and after 1950″. Tibet after 1950 saw dramatic political changes, including an invasion by China that led the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s foremost spiritual guru, to leave the region in 1959. Since then, Tibet has seen a widespread influx of Chinese Han and increased Sinicization or Chinese influence.
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The course included learning the Tibetan language, understanding Tibetan Buddhism and literature, and visits to the monasteries of Chillipam, Dirang, and Bomdila. Many of these monasteries have deep ties to Tibetan Buddhism. The Indian Army officers also participated in Saka Dawa, a key festival in Tibetan Buddhism and is associated with the life of Buddha which the statement said “further enriched their knowledge of Tibetan culture and religion”.
The development comes at a time when tensions between India and China remain high amid aggressive Chinese moves to control the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. The 2020 Galwan incident at LAC saw India lose 20 of its soldiers due to military action by the Chinese military. China, after much delay, agreed to have lost 4 of its troops, a number that remains questionable given Beijing’s poor record on transparency.
Other key elements of the course included guest lectures by Guru Tulku Rinpoche, Abbot of Bomdila Monastery and Tibet expert Claude Arpi. In March 2022, Guru Tulku Rinpoche was honored with Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honor for spiritualism. He is identified as the 12th incarnation in the line of Merag Lama Lodroe Gyatso who founded Tawang Monastery. Tawang Monastery has very close ties with Tibet, and it was in this monastery that the Dalai Lama went to take refuge after the Chinese invasion of his homeland.
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Meanwhile, China remains vexed by the Dalai Lama’s mega-birthday celebrations earlier this month, which saw Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi express his well-wishes. The celebrations in Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, saw the participation of the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur. In Delhi, 2 Ministers of State (MoS), MoS Culture and External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi and MoS Law SP Baghel attended the anniversary celebration, although sources said they were present in their capacity private. The Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations in Delhi saw a large presence from the diplomatic community, including Taiwan’s Ambassador Baushuan Ger, America’s top diplomat, Chargé d’Affaires Patricia A. Lacina, among others.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh this month. His first visit outside of Dharamshala in 2 years as the covid crisis subsides. His visit to Ladakh comes as India and China held the 16th round of military talks to ease tensions in LAC in eastern Ladakh. While few regions like Pangong Tso and others have seen disengagement, friction remains in other regions even as China continues to violate the pact signed in the 1990s to maintain peace and tranquility in the areas. border.