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US lawmakers question China’s right to Tibet

For India, the Resolve Tibet Act serves as a reaffirmation of US support for the Tibetan cause.

The recent passage of the Resolve Tibet Act by the US Senate marks a pivotal moment in international relations, one that could significantly impact Asia’s geopolitical landscape, and in particular India’s stance on Tibet. This law, which has received substantial bipartisan support, underlines the unresolved conflict between Tibet and China and states that Tibet’s legal status should be determined in accordance with international law.
For India, the law serves as a reaffirmation of US support for the Tibetan cause, and reflects India’s long-standing position on granting asylum to the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai Lama. This alignment between U.S. policy and India’s historical posture could strengthen India’s diplomatic leverage in its negotiations with China, especially on border disputes and regional sovereignty.

The law’s emphasis on the unresolved status of Tibet – a region that shares a vast and disputed border with India – could prompt a recalibration of diplomatic relations in the region. It could lead to greater solidarity among countries that recognize the importance of a peaceful solution to the conflict between Tibet and China, and possibly form a united front advocating for the rights of the Tibetan people.
By advocating dialogue and a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Tibet and China, the law is in line with India’s interests in maintaining regional stability. India’s proximity to Tibet and the historic ties between the two regions mean that any escalation of tensions could have direct implications for India’s security and its efforts to maintain peace along its borders.
The law’s provisions to counter disinformation about Tibet could indirectly support India’s narrative against China’s unwarranted territorial claims. By authorizing actions to counter such misinformation, the law not only defends Tibet’s historical and cultural identity, but also strengthens India’s sovereignty over regions like Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as Southern Tibet.

The emphasis on resolving the Tibet issue in accordance with international law could prompt similar approaches for other disputed areas. This could be beneficial to India, which has consistently advocated a rules-based international order to address its border disputes with neighboring countries.
While the Resolve Tibet Act is an important step, its actual impact will depend on subsequent actions by the US and other international players. The responses of China and India will also play a crucial role in shaping the future of the region. The situation remains dynamic and the geopolitical implications will continue to unfold over time. As the world watches, the law could serve as a catalyst for change, advancing the rights of the Tibetan people and encouraging a peaceful resolution to one of Asia’s longest-standing conflicts.

Khedroob Thondup is the son of Gyalo Thondup, the Dalai Lama’s elder brother. Educated at St Stephens College, University of Delhi and University of San Francisco, Khedroob Thondup was Personal Assistant to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and accompanied him on his first trip to the US in 1979. From 1980 he was sent by the Dalai Lama to Beijing until 1993 in dialogue talks. He had contact with Xi Jinping’s father Xi Zhongxun and Hu Jintao. He has been chairman of the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre, Darjeeling since 1987.