Tibet does not seek independence from China but wants greater development, Dalai Lama said Thursday.
China and Tibet enjoyed a close relationship, though there were occasional “fights”, he said at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
“The past is past. We will have to look into the future,” he said in Kolkata, stressing that Tibetans wanted to stay with China.
“We are not seeking independence… We want to stay with China. We want more development,” the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people said.
The Dalai Lama also said China must respect Tibetans’ culture and heritage.
“Tibet has a different culture and a different script… The Chinese people love their own country. We love our own country,” he said.
Holding that no Chinese “understand what had happened in the last few decades”, he said the country had changed over the years.
“With China joining the world, it has changed 40% to 50% of what it was earlier,” he said.
The Dalai Lama referred to the ecological significance of the Tibetan Plateau and recalled that a Chinese ecologist had said its environmental impact was like that of the South Pole and the North Pole.
“The ecologist called it the Third Pole,” the Buddhist leader said.
The Dalai Lama said, “From Yangtze to Sindhu rivers, major rivers … come from Tibet. Billions of lives are involved. Taking care of the Tibetan Plateau is not only good for Tibet but for billions of people.”
The Dalai Lama also pitched for respect and recognition of the ‘Hindi-Chini bhai bhai’ spirit to take Sino-India relations forward.
“India and China should eventually find respect for ‘Hindi-Chini bhai bhai’,” he told the media when asked on China’s objections to President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
He said “China needs India, India needs China” and “they have to live side by side”.
“There is no other way except to live peacefully and help each other,” he said.