Goa, India — Addressing a conference of India's public intellectuals and policy makers in Goa on Saturday, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay said that the Tibetan movement must succeed for its strategic importance for the environmental health of the world, for preservation of India's democratic principles, and for the preservation of Tibet's unique culture, identity, and civilization.
Sikyong participated in the 3rd India Ideas Conclave held from November 4th-6th in Goa, organized by India Foundation based in New Delhi. He was invited as a Special Speaker by the Foundation to speak on the central theme of the Conclave: India at 70 – Democracy, Development and Dissent.
In his remarks, Sikyong emphasized the role of Tibet as the water tower of Asia and the source of India's cradle of civilization. "Predictably, soon wars will be fought over water and Tibet is water tower of Asia. The cradle of Indian civilization starts from Tibet. The lifeline of Assam and Bangladesh has its source in Tibet, including the cradle of Chinese civilization – the yellow river. China is facing scarcity of fresh water but the situation is worse in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, the downstream nations. Brahmaputra waters are already receding because China is building more and more dams on the Tibetan river. That's why Tibet is vitally important for the whole of Asia."
Sikyong noted that success and protection of Tibet is beneficial to India as well. "The rich traditions of Nalanda are best preserved in Tibetan language and literature. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an excellent messenger of peace and Buddhism. In that sense, although we are refugees, this is our contribution to this great civilization, the Tibetan people have preserved the Nalanda tradition."
Sikyong hailed the Tibetan movement as a real Made-in-India movement in every respect. "Today we are talking about democracy, The Tibetan people have adopted and adapted the Indian ideals of democracy in our society. We have a Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala, which runs our own Tibetan settlements and schools – subsidized by the Indian government. The Buddhism-based Tibetan culture and identity has flourished from India in the early 7th and 8th century. Therefore, the Tibetan movement is actually a Made-in-India movement and it is relatively a success story, because of this great country India."
Closing his remarks, Sikyong thanked the government and people of India for allowing the Tibetan movement to continue to thrive, also noting, "We must succeed so that His Holiness can return to his homeland and the Tibetans inside Tibet, who are suffering for decades with the hope that His Holiness will soon return to Tibet. When that happens, truth will prevail, justice and Ahimsa will prevail and Made-in-India will prevail."
The conclave was inaugurated with a keynote speech from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, via a video message, and was attended by other notable guests including government officials, journalists, nonprofit heads and academics.
Themes covered by the conference program include the following:
- Kashmiriyat, Jamhuriyat and Insaniyat (Kashmiriyat, democracy and humanity)
- Cultures in conflict: the roads ahead
- Digitisation and future of India
- The new politics
- World without poverty
- In search of Lakshmi: towards Indic economics
- Gender equality, gender sensitivity, gender neutrality
- Rise of radicalism - future of civilisations
- Mother earth, mother nature - the Eastern Wisdom
- RSS and its cultural agenda
- The pen warriors- literary battles for civilisational ideas
- Semitic ideas - orthodoxy, modernity and reform
- Are lifestyle issues becoming identity questions?
Over 350 intellectuals including government leaders, professionals, scholars, journalists, politicians and social activists are participating in this conclave. According to a brief provided by the organisers, "Last year, scholars from over 25 countries including several heads of state attended this conclave. Several scholars presented white papers, one of which was subsequently been adopted by the Government of India this year".