India overcautious on Tibet: Dalai Lama

Dalai lama

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama dismissed all speculation about his retirement, saying he would not quit till the Tibetans returned to their homeland. The 73-year-old Nobel laureate was addressing a press gathering here on Sunday. The Dalai Lama termed India's attitude towards Tibet issue "overcautious" and said he could be the "last Dalai Lama".

Declining to comment on the idea of complete independence being favoured by some young Tibetan organisations, he reaffirmed his faith in the "middle path" and said it was his moral responsibility to lead the Tibetans till his death. "It is directly a matter of will of the people. If the Tibetan people want me, I would be there. Same is true for the whole successor issue also. I am already 73. If the people of Tibet feel they don't need the institution of Dalai Lama any more then their will would prevail and there would be no successor. But if they feel a requirement, then the succession process would also be decided by them and the person taking over could be a man or a woman."

He added that he was already in a state of semi-retirement from politics. "In political matters, I play the role of an advisor to Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche. But I cannot abdicate my spiritual responsibilities."

Though the radical sentiment has been gaining acceptance amongst Tibetan youth, the six-day special meeting of 600 Tibetan leaders, which concluded on Saturday, declared the Dalai Lama as its unanimous leader. A special meeting of International Support Group of Tibetans shall take place later this month at Gurgaon. It shall feature several high-profile names, including Hollywood actor Richard Gere. The Dalai Lama is unlikely to attend this meet, as he would be touring Europe during this period.

Speculation was rife about the Dalai Lama's retirement after his health declined (he recently underwent a gall bladder surgery) and the failure of eighth round of talks with China after which he admitted that his policies had "failed". There were also suggestions about the likelihood of the Karmapa taking over as his successor.

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