DHARAMSHALA: Delivering the keynote address at a day-long conference marking the centenary of the 1914 Simla Convention, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the first democratically elected political successor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, reaffirmed his commitment to the Middle-Way Policy as a viable and effective solution to the issue of Tibet.
Around hundred people, including former diplomats, scholars and students attended the conference titled Simla Convention After A Hundred Years organized in Delhi on 3 July by India International Centre in co-ordination with Tibet Policy Institute of Central Tibetan Administration.
Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, former Union Minister of HRD and the current MP from Kanpur, addressed the conference as the Chief Guest, while Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, chairperson of IIC Asia Project, delivered the opening address as the Guest of Honor.
Regarding the Simla Convention, as well as the 17-Point Agreement which Tibet was forced to sign with the People’s Republic of China in 1951, the Sikyong said that the weakness of both these agreements was that it divided one peoplesharing a common language, culture and religion and way of life into two.
The Sikyong also once again reaffirmed his commitment to the Middle-Way Policy as a viable and effective solution formulated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, endorsed by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and supported by majority of Tibetans in and outside Tibet.
Dr. Michael van Walt Praag, lawyer and author spoke on “International Perspective on the Simla Agreement”; Mr R N Ravi, former Special Director of India’s Intelligence Bureau, spoke on “Panchsheel Agreement 1954″ and Dhondup Gyalpo, Senior Fellow of the Tibet Policy Institute, spoke on Tibet Perspective on Simla Agreement.
In the afternoon session, Prof Dibyesh Anand of University of Westminster, London, spoke on Indian Perspective on Simla convention”, Tenzin Norgay, Research Fellow of Tibet Policy Institute spoke on Tibet in the Great Game: View from London, and Mr Naresh Mathur, an advocate, on Reconciliation of perspectives and its outcome.
The Simla Convention between Britain, China and Tibet held from 1913 to 1914 defined the status of Tibet and demarcated the boundaries of Inner and Outer Tibet. Though Republican China initialed the agreement that came out of the Convention, it refused to sign the final document, forfeiting all the rights bestowed on it over both Inner and Outer Tibet. In the end Tibet and British India signed the final document and bilaterally agreed upon the border between the two to the east of Bhutan as the McMahon Line.