US Ambassador calls on Dalai Lama

Dharamsala, Sep 4 (IANS) US Ambassador Richard Verma on Sunday called on Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, at his official palace here, officials said. The Dalai Lama’s office declined to comment about the visit.

Verma, who was on a personal trip to McLeodganj for two days, along with his wife and children called on the Nobel Peace Laureate in the morning and flew back to Delhi after his courtesy call, a state government functionary told IANS.

Sources said only close aides of the spiritual leader were present at the meeting that lasted for almost an hour.

A senior official in the Dalai Lama’s office said the visit was the routine one to promote understanding between the US government and the Tibetan leaders.

The ambassador also met high-ranking officials of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), including Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, on Saturday.

Last month, 72 US lawmakers led by veteran Tibet supporter Congressman Jim McGovern wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama to prioritise the issue of Tibet during his last months in office.

“We write to ask that you redouble efforts in support of the Tibetan people during your remaining months in office. We believe it is critically important to move beyond words to actions,” they said.

In the letter released on August 17, they have particularly urged President Obama to emphasise six issues with regard to Tibet, including publicly supporting the right of the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and the immediate and unconditional release of all Tibetan political prisoners languishing in Chinese prisons.

The Dalai Lama, who believes in the “middle-path” policy that demands “greater autonomy” for the Tibetans, is viewed by the Chinese as a hostile element who is bent on splitting Tibet from China.

He lives in exile along with some 140,000 Tibetans, over 100,000 of them in India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.

The Tibetan exile administration is based in this northern Indian hill town, but is not recognised by any country.

–IANS

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1 Comment

  1. James Rinaldi
    September 4, 2016 at 10:07 pm Reply

    It’s too little too late. McGovern’s letter to President Obama offered nothing new for Tibetans. It was a re-hash of old ideas from the 2003 Tibet Policy Act and of McGovern’s own failed Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act.

    The U.S. has no intention of actively advocating on Tibet’s behalf. My feeling is that Ambassador Verma’s visit was an attempt to re-establish America’s fading Tibet card and re-validate some sense of the US still being in Tibet’s corner so they can, once again, use Tibet as a political pawn in their increasingly tense negotiations with the Chinese.

    The timing of Verma’s visit speaks loudly. President Obama’s current visit to Beijing is already confrontational and contentious. What better push-back than to send our US ambassador to meet with the Dalai Lama?

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