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January 5, 2002
1653 IST

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Tibetan autonomy: Dalai Lama seeks active role of India

Ahead of Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji's visit to India, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Saturday said India should play a more active role in realising the Himalayan state's long-standing demand for autonomy.

The Chinese premier is to reach India on January 13, on his first official visit.

"After years of failed peace talks and violent suppression of Tibetans, I feel the international community, especially India should play a more active role in facilitating autonomy to Tibet," the spiritual head of the Tibetans said at a seminar 'Tibet and India - Shared concerns' in Delhi.

Emphasising that his 'ceaseless efforts to free Tibet from Chinese rule would continue", the Nobel peace prize winner said he had toned down the demand from 'complete independence' to just 'autonomy', so that a 'compromise deal could be struck' and the state's heritage and the ecology could be 'saved'.

"What is happening in Tibet is a mindless assault on our religious freedom. Lamas are being arrested, monasteries shut down and there is degradation of the ecology of the Tibetan plateau due to deforestation and dumping of nuclear waste" by China, the Dalai Lama said.

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