India recently announced that it party bus rental will welcome the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who has lived in exile in India since 1959, at an international conference on Buddhism in the state of Bihar in March. Ignoring protests from the Chinese government, India will also allow the Dalai Lama to visit the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of its own territory and calls South Tibet. This represents a gradual but significant change in India's Tibet policy, and it flows directly from China's refusal to acknowledge India's security concerns.
When Narendra Modi took office in 2014, his government hesitated to openly acknowledge official interactions with the Dalai Lama, ceding some ground to Chinese sensitivities. But by last month, President Pranab Mukherjee was hosting the Dalai Lama at a summit held in his official residence, the first meeting in decades between a serving Indian president and the Tibetan leader.
China reacted strongly to this meeting, saying New Delhi was disrespecting one of Beijing's core interests. New Delhi retorted that the Dalai Lama was a revered spiritual leader and it was a nonpolitical event. China has also objected to the planned visit by the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, saying it would damage bilateral ties.
Behind all this are broader strategic disagreements, including the "technical hold" placed by China on India's attempt at the United Nations to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist. Beijing has blocked India's move for nearly a year despite support from all other members of the 15-nation Security Council.
After India recently tested long-range ballistic missiles, China indicated it would be willing to help Pakistan increase the range of its nuclear missiles. When the Obama administration asserted that Beijing was an "outlier" in refusing to back India's membership in the multinational Nuclear Suppliers Group, China replied that "membership shall not be some kind of farewell gift for countries to give to each other." Meanwhile China is pursuing its $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that traverses the disputed territory of Kashmir, implicitly acknowledging Pakistan's claims there.
Still, India remains wary of upping the ante on the Tibet issue, which dates to the British Raj. The origins of the Sino-Indian war of 1962, in which India was defeated, can be traced to the asylum provided to the Dalai Lama after China's annexation of Tibet. China's repressive policies in the Tibet Autonomous Region have kept the Tibet question unresolved all these years. China portrays the Dalai Lama as a separatist "wolf in sheep's clothing" and fumes at India for keeping him as an honored guest.
China has been relentless in seeking the Dalai Lama's global isolation. After he visited predominantly Buddhist Mongolia in November, China closed a key border crossing with Mongolia and imposed new tariffs on commodity shipments. Mongolia, desperate to enhance economic ties in critical areas such as mining and infrastructure, apologized to Beijing and promised that the Dalai Lama would no longer be allowed to visit.
New Delhi seems to recognize that sacrificing the interests of the Tibetan people hasn't yielded India any benefits, nor has there been tranquillity in the Himalayas for the past several decades. As early as 2010, New Delhi stopped referring to Tibet as part of China in joint statements with Beijing. As China's aggressiveness grows, Indian leaders find themselves with fewer levers to affect Chinese behavior, so further supporting the legitimate rights of the Tibetan people could be an attempt to set new terms of engagement with Beijing.
This dovetails with the Modi government's broader interest in promoting Buddhism as a means to cultivate ties with neighbors and express India's ancient heritage. The prime minister himself has visited the Indian city of Bodh Gaya, the birthplace of Buddhism.
It remains to be seen how far the Modi government will Home page go in challenging China on one of its core interests. But the recent evolution in India's Tibet policy underscores that as China becomes stronger and more aggressive in pursuit of its interests, it should be ready for pushback from regional states that view its growing might with dread. Chinese hegemony will not come easy.
I have been working in an organisation named observer research foundation which seeks to lead and aid policy towards building a strong and prosperous India in a fair and equity world. ORF provides non-partisan input on matters on security, strategy, China Foreign Policy, economy, development, energy, Indian Foreign Policy etc. to diverse decision maker, provide inclusive platforms and invest in tomorrow's thought leaders today.
Getting out into the world and enjoying life again is something we're all looking forward to doing sometime soon. But when you've got the chance to play Bay Area Houston, though, you've got to do it with aplomb. There's no room for half-hearted fun times here as this part of Texas asks everyone to give it all they've got when they play their hearts out. But what if you're not sure where to start? No sweat. All you've got to do consult the expert that's likely hanging out in your house at about knee height --- your toddler.
No one knows how to have fun like kids, and when little kids are really 'on', they are capable of making the world really beautiful. Everything is a playground, and imagination is the only limit in play. Remember those days? If not, you're not alone. That's exactly the problem we, as adults, have run into over time. We forgot how to let loose and enjoy life. Careers, home ownership, car maintenance, you know the usual schtick. These are the things that make being grown-up a real drag.
It turns out that toddlers and young kids are clued in on just how much we're all just not able to have fun anymore. Moreover, this is why a place like Bay Area Houston is so important. It's like nowhere else in Texas, and that's a good thing. It's also not tied to the typical things you might associate with the Lone Star State (you know you've been asked about horses & saying things like 'y'all', right?). Bay Area has a beautifully diverse population, outstanding restaurants, awe-inspiring natural scenery, and some of the coolest things in the world to do.
Do yourself a favor & see what your toddler might be trying to tell you about play in Bay Area Houston:
Nature, Beaches, and the Outdoors --- While many Texas cities will argue vigorously about this, the truth is there are few places IN THE COUNTRY that compare to the natural beauty you'll find in Bay Area Houston. Kids love going outside, running around, and breathing clean air. Why not add some gorgeous landscapes, breathtaking beaches, and all manner of outdoor entertainment to the mix!
Kid-Friendly Environments --- A lot of destinations make the claim that they are "Fun Central", but are they really? Usually, it's either the kids or adults on a trip that have to suck it up & deal with a boring getaway. Bay Area isn't like other destinations. The local population is made up of diverse families who call Bay Area home all year long, which means that you're visiting a place that knows how to entertain kids of all ages.
Have Plans Ready --- Why mention the multitude of things at your fingertips in Bay Area? Because you've got young kids & being ready to change gears at a moment's notice is part of the gig. Your toddler will thank you for the 'Baycation when you save the day by finding the perfect Plan B.
You Can Get Involved, Too --- If there is one lesson you need to take away from watching your toddler enjoy all of Bay Area Houston, it's that sometimes you should join in on the fun. You'll have plenty of time to be a parent, so be a kid again. Your kid's smile will be worth it.
This year has been pretty rough on everyone in the family. As such, why not shake off the 2020 blues & play Bay Area Houston? Bring back the all-American road-trip, pack some sandwiches & sodas in the cooler, and make it the highlight of what's been one heck of a year. Your kids are only young once, so don't let life get in the way of creating some amazing memories with them. Luckily for you, Bay Area Houston has plenty of good times for everyone.