Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Centre extends relief to Tibetan Committee by 5 years

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE)

Mains level : India's asylum to Tibetans

The Union government has extended the scheme to provide ₹40 crore grants-in-aid to the Dalai Lama’s Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) for another five years, up to fiscal year 2025-26.

Do you think that India’s support for the Tibetan cause is the root cause of all irritants in India-China relations?

What is CTRC?

  • The Dalai Lama’s Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) was formed and registered as Charitable Society under Indian Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.
  • It effectively acts as the Relief and Development Wing of Home Department, Central Tibetan Administration.
  • All the CTRC activities are carried out with consent and support from Board of Directors and approval from TPiE (Tibetan Parliament in Exile).

Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE)

  • The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) has its headquarters in Dharamsala, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
  • According to the Green Book of the Tibetan government-in-exile, over 1 lakh Tibetans are settled across India.
  • The remaining are settled in United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Mongolia, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland and various other countries.

Working of the TPiE

  • The Speaker and a Deputy Speaker head the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.
  • It includes two members from each of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the pre-Buddhist Bon religion.
  • Other representatives are from the Tibetan Communities in North America and Europe; and from Australasia and Asia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan).
  • Till 2006, it used to be called as Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (ATPDs) with the chairman as its head and a vice-chairman.

Tibetan Constitution

  • The Central Tibetan Administration exists and functions on the basis of the Constitution of the Tibetan government called the ‘The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile’.
  • In 1991, The Constitution Redrafting Committee instituted by the Dalai Lama prepared the Charter for Tibetans in exile. The Dalai Lama approved it on June 28, 1991.
  • In 2001, fundamental changes happened with the amendment of the Charter that facilitated the direct election of the Kalon Tripa by the Tibetans in exile.
  • The Kalon Tripa is called Sikyong or president of the Central Tibetan Administration.

The Kashag (Cabinet)

  • The Kashag (Cabinet) is the Central Tibetan Administration’s highest executive office and comprise seven members.
  • It is headed by the Sikyong (political leader) who is directly elected by the exiled Tibetan population.
  • Sikyong subsequently nominates his seven Kalons (ministers) and seeks the parliament’s approval. The Kashag’s term is for five years.

A backgrounder: Democracy for Tibet

  • The Dalai Lama began democratization soon after he came to India during the 1959 Tibetan National Uprising.
  • He reportedly asked Tibetans in exile to choose their representatives through universal adult suffrage, following which polls were held for electing Tibetan Parliamentarians in 1960.
  • Democracy for the Tibetans, thus, began in exile.
  • The Dalai Lama, however, continued to remain the supreme political leader. On March 14, 2011, he relinquished his political responsibilities, ending a 369-year-old practice.

Is TPiE officially recognized by any country?

  • Not exactly, it is not recognised officially by any country, including India.
  • But, a number of countries including the USA and European nations deal directly with the Sikyong and other Tibetan leaders through various forums.
  • The TPiE claims its democratically-elected character helps it manage Tibetan affairs and raise the Tibetan issue across the world.
  • The incumbent Sikyong, Lobsang Sangay, was among the guests who attended the oath-taking ceremony of our PM in 2014, probably a first.

 

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