China woos Karmapa, India changes strategy

NEW DELHI: Amid speculation about the 17th Karmapa Lama Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s return to India from the US later this year, sources hint at “perceptible strategy change” by Delhi.

editorial@tribune.com

Mukesh Ranjan and Smita Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 10

Amid speculation about the 17th Karmapa Lama Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s return to India from the US later this year, sources hint at “perceptible strategy change” by Delhi.

The 33-year-old Karmapa, head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, has been in the US for the past one year citing health concerns. Officials in Ministry of Home Affairs refuse to comment on record. But sources claim “China has formally placed a request with the US for Karmapa to be handed over to it”.

Speaking to The Tribune, officials said “India wants to bolster its claim as a cradle and home of Buddhist thought” with the Tibetan leader’s presence in the country, “particularly in view of China’s bid to woo the influential clergy with an eye on the post-Dalai Lama scenario”.

A senior MHA official said, “Both the Dalai Lama and China recognise Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa. India for long recognised his rival Thaye Trinley Dorje. In the post-Dalai Lama scenario, Thaye Trinley Dorje may not be of much help, as he not only publicly challenges the Dalai Lama’s authority, but, like China, he also does not accept the Dalai Lama as the supreme Tibetan leader.”

According to sources, Karmapa, over the past few months, has signalled through various actions that he is one with the Dalai Lama and Tibetan cause and remains popular with the diaspora.

Eye on Buddhist legacy 

  • China has formally placed a request with the US for the 17th Karmapa Lama Ogyen Trinley Dorje to be handed over to it who is in the US for the past around a year
  • India wants to bolster its claim as a cradle and home of Buddhist thought with the Tibetan leader's presence in the country, with an eye on the post-Dalai Lama scenario

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