The Dalai Lama left the Indian side in a tizzy after the spiritual leader hinted of making new bonds with China and ‘to look into the future’ in Kolkata on Thursday at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
In his 1-hour 45-minutes long speech, the spiritual leader opened up his heart and said, ‘Tibet does not seek independence from China but wants greater developments’.
Commenting on the status they share, spiritual leader says that both the country enjoys a close relationship though there were occasional “fights”.
“The past is past. We will have to look into the future,” he said. He stressed that Tibetans wanted to stay with China.
Though his speech, and the question-answer session that followed, the Dalai Lama harped on the need for peace and dialogue to resolve problems.
The monk has remained a source of embarrassment for the Chinese authorities as he moves across the globe befriending top world leaders such as George Bush and Barack Obama, and Hollywood stars such as Richard Gere and Sharon Stone.
His visits to India and comments on India’s border disputes have in the past offended Beijing. But today he was not in the mood to send the heartburn on the China – Tibet issue, he said, “We are not seeking independence… We want to stay with China. We want more development”.
The Dalai Lama also put stress on China to respect Tibetan’s culture and heritage.
“Tibet has a different culture and a different script… The Chinese people love their own country. We love our own country,” he said
Holding that no Chinese “understands what had happened in the last few decades,” he said the country had changed over the years.
“With China joining the world, it has changed 40% to 50% of what it was earlier,” he said.
The spiritual leader is also known for his plain speak, briefly treaded a controversial path by referring to “corruption” in China, he quickly did a balancing act by mentioning that the new President was trying to rein it in. Later, he added that corruption was prevalent in India as well.
“Indians are more lazy than Chinese,” he said at one point.
Earlier, when he was asked about the role compassion and empathy could play in the event of job losses because of robotics and artificial intelligence, the Dalai Lama didn’t seem to be worried as he stressed that human intelligence couldn’t be replaced.
The Dalai Lama had fled to India in 1959 following a failed uprising in Tibet against the Chinese rule. Since then Beijing has been calling him a “separatist”.