Can anyone tell me why India is still giving asylum to the Dalai Lama?

I mean, haven't the circumstances changed already after 70 years of the annexation of Tibet by the PRC? Isn't the Dalai Lama a political burden for India? For instance, if India gets rid of him, shouldn't it improve the relations of India with PRC?

What does India gain nowadays by continuing to give asylum to the Dalai Lama?

  • 2
    Do you have any evidence that China wants India to expel the Dalai Lama? (I assume that's what you mean by "get rid of him" although that phrase often means kill.) If the Dalai Lama moved to the US or other states hostile to China, would China be any better off?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 19:12
  • 1
    @StuartF There might actually be reasons for China to request the opposite through backchannels, namely for India to entertain the Dalai Lama indefinitely, due to internal political reasons and some religious issues to do with the Panchen Lama, who is technically of co-equal status, and the reincarnation system. Or at least that's what I heard.
    – M. Y. Zuo
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 17:37

2 Answers 2


India gains moral authority which enhances its "soft power". It also promotes goodwill with Buddhists of all kinds (not just Tibetan Buddhists) and other people who view the Dalai Lama as a public figure positively (probably as many people worldwide as the Pope).

India has strained relations with the PRC, at times escalating into military skirmishes on their shared border in any case, so India doesn't have a lot to lose in its relations with the only country in the world that would see this decision negatively.

  • 1
    This was the argument before the CIA's recently declassified papers with on the record proof of financial transfers to the Dalai Lamai, his family, offices, etc., before and after his exile. Does the same argument still apply?
    – M. Y. Zuo
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 17:20
  • 11
    @M.Y.Zuo "Does the same argument still apply?" Yes. I don't see why it wouldn't.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 20:22
  • Well usually we wouldn't consider helping someone who made secret deals to facilitate fighting against political opponents to be worth much in 'moral authority', at least not in any society I've heard of. Especially if it's an ostensibly religious figure wading into political conflict.
    – M. Y. Zuo
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 13:36

Additionally, according to a 2008 article in the Times of India, in more recent times, the current Dalai Lama seems to back India's sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh (a state of the size of Scotland), which China claims as its own territory (calling it Zangnan or South Tibet).

For the first-time, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has said that Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, a territory that's still claimed by China, is part of India.

Acknowledging the validity of the MacMohan Line as per the 1914 Simla Agreement in an interview to Navbharat Times , he said that Arunchal Pradesh was a part of India under the agreement signed by Tibetan and British representatives.

In 2003, while touring Tawang, the Dalai Lama had been asked to comment on the issue, but had refused to give a direct answer, saying that Arunachal was actually part of Tibet. China doesn't recognize the MacMohan Line and claims that Tawang and Arunachal Pradesh are part of its territory.

The statement is bound to impact the India-China dialogue, as Beijing has already stated that if Tawang is handed to it, it will rescind claim on the rest of Arunachal Pradesh. The Chinese proposal is strategically unacceptable to India, as Tawang is close not just to the northeastern states but also to Bhutan. Tawang is also a key Buddhist pilgrimage site as it was the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama.

The last para is somewhat questionable though given the more recent developments during the last decade, in which China renamed various (other) places in Arunchal Pradesh, to stake its claims on them.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .