India issues passports to Tibetan refugees, China asks to honour ‘solemn’ promises

India issues passports to Tibetan refugees, China asks to honour ‘solemn’ promises

SAM Report,
Tibetan Refugees in India

India has decided to give passports to Tibetan refugees born in India. The decision has come in wake of the growing tension between China and India over the Dalai Lama’s impending visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Meanwhile, China has categorically asked India to honour its solemn promises on Tibet-related issues.

The new policy change came into effect from March 2017, Indian media reported.

The Delhi high court in a ruling last year asked the Centre to consider Tibetan refugees during 1950-87 as Indian citizens.

According to the media report, the government has accepted the court ruling and Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA) directed all passport offices in India and abroad to process pending applications of Tibetan Refugee applicants born in India between 26/01/1950 to 01/07/1987 for the issue of passports, and treat them as Indian citizens by birth.

Earlier the home ministry had argued that it considers requests for citizenship by Tibetans residing in India on a case-by-case basis, but the HC ordered it to consider applications of all Tibetans and not ask them to certify their nationality. Till then the home ministry was issuing identity certificate/ residential permit instead of passports to the Tibetan Refugees.

Meanwhile, China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, in a media briefing in Beijing on Tuesday (18 April), said, “For some time, due to reasons known to all, the political foundation for China-India relations has been damaged, casting a shadow over bilateral relations and the boundary negotiations,”

“What is imperative now is for the Indian side to take concrete actions to honour its solemn promises on Tibet-related issues as well as the important consensus reached by the two sides on settling the boundary issue, in particular never again using the 14th Dalai Lama to undermine China’s core interests, so as to create a good atmosphere for greater mutual trust between the two countries and proper settlement of the boundary question,” he added.

His response came to a query on the fate of New Delhi’s relationship with Beijing in the future.

Earlier, with Beijing issuing a stern warning that the Dalai Lama’s visit will have a “negative impact” on the settlement of the border dispute, India stated that its policy towards Tibet and border issue with China remained unchanged.

China is opposed to the Dalai Lama, who it regards as a separatist, visiting Arunachal Pradesh, particularly Tawang.