Gyangbung Rinpoche, the abbot of the nearly 350-year-old Tawang monastery recently gave a statement to the media, saying that India needs to counter China’s policy of expansionism, and that New Delhi must maintain a strict vigil over the line of actual control (LAC) with the neighbouring country. He was also quoted as saying that China has no authority at all to get involved in choosing the next Dalai Lama and the succession is entirely a spiritual matter for the Tibetan people. The statement has caught the eye of the defence and political experts in the country. At a time when the relation between India and China remains tense since the bloody clash in Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh, the statement of Gyangbung Rinpoche is significant.
It has the potential to further increase the hostility between the two nations. China constantly lays claims over Arunachal, and this statement coming from religious leader based in the state can infuriate Beijing. India is a democratic country and Gyangbung Rinpoche is well within his right to make such a statement. But considering the present situation, the statement could have been avoided. The Tibetan issue is an international issue and Arunachal should be kept out of this. Already the state has done enough for the Tibetan refugee community by giving them shelter in various refugee camps located in the state. On humanitarian grounds, everyone shares the concern of the Tibetan people and their rights. Gyangbung Rinpoche should concentrate on religious teaching and avoid giving political statements which may have repercussions. His statement can land the whole state in trouble and further provoke China to act aggressively along LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.