As the Obama administration pursues its “Asia pivot,” Tibet is taking on increased strategic significance due to its importance as a source of water and minerals, the militarization of the Tibetan plateau and the Sino-Indian border, Chinese influence in Nepal, and Beijing’s insistence on deference to its control of Tibet as a “core interest.” The series of self-immolations by Tibetans over the past year demonstrates that 60 years of Communist Chinese occupation has not succeeded in destroying Tibetans’ identity and desire for freedom. This still unfolding unrest and the democratization of the Tibetan government-in-exile make imperative a review of international policies.
Moving forward, what role will Tibet play in the region’s peace and security? Do the U.S. and India have the right policies in place for Tibet? What policies is China pursuing in response to recent events and in anticipation of the future? What are the prospects for achieving the autonomy the Dalai Lama seeks? Can Tibetan Buddhism and democracy provide a bridge between Tibetans and Chinese?
Discussing these vital questions will be Brahma Chellaney of the Centre for Policy Research; Michael J. Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Lodi G. Gyari, special envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama; and Ambassador Lalit Mansingh, former Indian Foreign Secretary. FPI Director of Democracy and Human Rights Ellen Bork will moderate the discussion.