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A Tibet angle in Prime Minister Modi’s US state visit?

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(TibetanReview.net, Jun23’23) – Pictures of Hollywood star Richard Gere doing yoga next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India on Jun 21 at the United Nations headquarters in New York have gone viral on social media and it could be subtle message to China on Tibet, according to a news9live.com report Jun 22. The historic Yoga Day event created a Guinness World Record for seeing the participation of most nationalities in a Yoga session.

While the special programme led by Modi, marking the 9th International Day of Yoga, was attended by many eminent personalities, Gere’s placement right next to PM Modi assumes greater significance as a subtle message for Beijing, the report noted.

Gere is an all too well-known supporter of the Tibetan cause and has often called out China for human rights atrocities, including in a 1993 Oscar speech. He is the Chairperson of the International Campaign for Tibet, co-founder of the Tibet House culture centre in New York City, and a long-time friend of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader.

He is banned from China, which blocks all movie and other projects involving him, thereby greatly hurting his Hollywood career.

PM Narendra Modi with Hollywood actor Richard Gere and others participates in 9th International Day of Yoga celebrations at the UN Headquarters in New York City. (Photo courtesy: UNI)

“As Richard Gere is a staunch supporter of the Dalai Lama and is viewed as anti-China by Beijing, this carries a powerful message to China. That Prime Minister Modi supports the Dalai Lama who has since 1959 been considered an ‘honoured guest’ in India, even if it does not please China,” noted Tibetologist, author, and historian Claude Arpi has said.

The timing of this visual, Gere and Modi together, being beamed across the world adds to its significance as it comes just a day after US President Joe Biden called Chinese President Xi Jinping a dictator, the report said.

It is also worth noting that Modi also met Prof Robert Thurman, American Buddhist scholar and winner of India’s national award Padma Shri, on Jun 21. Thurman, the first Westerner to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk, was ordained by the Dalai Lama in 1965, and is the other co-founder of Tibet House, New York.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Prof Robert Thurman, American Buddhist scholar. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/Narendra Modi)

According to an official statement, Modi and Thurman “exchanged perspectives on how Buddhist values can act as guiding light for finding solutions to global challenges, and discussed India’s Buddhist connect and efforts being made by India for the preservation of Buddhist heritage,” the report noted.

Arpi hopes “this will soon translate into the Government of India declaring the Dalai Lama’s succession as his own choice and that the 15th Dalai Lama is welcome to come back to India where he will receive the same facilities as the present Dalai Lama.”

This is in view of the fact that communist China, though atheist, has vowed to make its own recognition and enthronement of the reincarnation of the current Dalai Lama, although this involves such intrinsically religious activities as performing religious rituals, offering prayers, making divinations, and consulting deities.

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