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Dalai Lama seeks India’s help in resolving Tibet issue (Lead)

IANS, November 20, 2008

Dharamsala, India -- As hundreds of Tibetan leaders from across the world are discussing the future course of their movement here, their spiritual guru, the Dalai Lama, Thursday again hinted India could help resolve the vexed Tibet issue.

”India and Tibet are having the relationship of a ‘guru’ and ‘chela’ (teacher and disciple) and when ‘chela’ is in trouble, the ‘guru’ must look after him,” the Nobel Peace prize winner told reporters with a smile.

He was speaking after attending a function organised by the Lions Club here.

He refused to say anything on the relations of the exiled government with China. “No comments,” he said when asked about it.

The eighth round of talks between China and the exiled Tibetan government failed earlier November after the Chinese side rejected a memorandum submitted by the exiled government seeking autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule.

Observers here pointed out that the spiritual leader’s comments came in the wake of repeated failures of talks with the Chinese over the five-decade-old issue.

The 73-year-old leader said this month during his visit to Japan that “talks with the Chinese leadership over allowing more autonomy for the Buddhist region in Tibet had so far failed”.

“Things are not going well… I have to accept failure… my trust with the Chinese leadership (is) now thinner, thinner, thinner,” the Tibetan leader had said.

However, Tenzin Taklha, a senior aide to the exiled leader, denied that the government-in-exile, which is based in this north Indian town in the Himalayas, had sought the help of the Indian government.

“He (the Dalai Lama) has never formally requested for any such intervention by the Indian government… his statement of ‘guru’ and ‘chela’ is nothing new. On various occasions, he used to refer India as ‘guru’,” he said.

He said the spiritual leader would address the Tibetans Nov 23, a day after the conclusion of the special session.

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama said he was deliberately keeping away from the biggest meeting of Tibetan leaders here as he did not want to influence their discussions.

“I have made it very clear that it is now up to the Tibetans. If I mention something then that may have hampered their free expression. Therefore, for the time being, I decided to remain complete silent,” the 1989 Nobel Peace prize winner told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.

The Nov 17-22 meeting of top Tibetan leaders has attracted nearly 600 delegates from all over the world. The meeting was called by the exiled Tibetan Parliament at the instance of the Dalai Lama to discuss and give suggestions for the future course to be adopted for the struggle for Tibet.

Initially the ministers of the exiled Tibetan government here, which is not recognised by any nation, had also wanted that they be excused from attending sessions of the meeting as participants could get influenced by their pro-government views. However, the ministers were told to participate in the meeting and give their views independently.

The Dalai Lama has travelled across the world to garner support for “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet, promoting human values and teaching Buddhism.

Beijing accuses the Nobel Peace Prize laureate as a trouble-making separatist. But the spiritual leader says he wants to negotiate true autonomy for the mountain region he fled in 1959, not outright independence.

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