Former diplomat’s television scolding of Dalai Lama for alleged silence on border dispute angers fellow-Ladakhis

His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (Photo courtesy: slate)

(, Jun01’20) – Undiplomatic remarks by a former Indian diplomat, attacking the Dalai Lama in angry terms on television for not declaring that a piece of territory in Ladakh claimed by China does not belong to Tibet have angered the people in his home territory. India and China are presently in a drawn out border faceoff in the region that began in April, with both the sides bringing in reinforcement and strengthening military assets. The issue is currently being widely discussed in the Indian media.

Thiksey and Diskit monasteries in Ladakh have demanded that Phunchok Stobdan, India’s former Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, make “unconditional apology” for his entirely uncalled for remarks.

Phunchok Stobdan.

The abbot of the two monasteries has issued a statement May 31, calling Stobdan’s statements “highly objectionable” and demanded an “unconditional apology”.

“His Holiness (Dalai Lama) is not only an epitome of peace and ambassador of humanity, but also the most respected spiritual leader of hundreds of thousands of Buddhists around the world,” the abbot has said in a press release.

The Merchant Association of Ladakh’s capital Leh has also called him out for “hurting the sentiments” of Buddhists, and called a strike Jun 1 a “display of solidarity,” reported May 31.

“We condemn such usage of blasphemous language hurting the sentiments of all Buddhist communities around the world,” the association was quoted as saying.

During a discussion on the Hindi news channel Aaj Tak May 29, Stobdan had said: “Dalai Lama has to speak and cannot keep focusing on his prayers while China eats away the land (in Ladakh). It doesn’t work like that. We have let him create a government in Dharamsala. He should offer a clarification that this is not Tibet’s land; it is India’s.”

“Is he doing it in collaboration with China? What is it? There is some confusion in the strategy,” Stobdan, who belongs to Ladakh, had chided the Dalai Lama.

Also questioning China’s claim over Tibet and therefore its locus standi for starting a dispute with India, Stobdan had said: “The question is why are Chinese coming there? Who told them it is their land? Chinese are far from there. That land belongs to the Tibetans. Why is Dalai Lama sitting idle in Dharamsala? Why is he not explaining it? He his hiding.”

“The kind of language that P Stobdan used against His Holiness (Dalai Lama) is highly condemnable. I as the abbot of Thiksey and Diskit monasteries, and on behalf of monks and followers of His Holiness The Dalai demand unconditional apologies from Mr P Stobdan,” May 31 quoted the abbot of the two monasteries as saying.

He was also reported to have urged Ladakh Buddhist Association and Ladakh Gonpa Association to condemn and demand unconditional apologies from the former diplomat for his statement.


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