VoW – DAV Mantrana Debate: India Should Recognise Tibet and Taiwan
DE-3: INDIA SHOULD RECOGNISE TIBET AND TAIWAN- VOW MANTRANA
NATIONAL DEBATE CHAMPIONSHIP 2020
Jury: Smt. Jyoti Dhawan, Dr Suchismita Sengupta Pandey, Dr P K Sharma (1015-1115 hrs)
Moderator: Mr. Ujjwal Sharma
“India has been a Guru in a Guru-Chelā relationship between India and Tibet.”
– Mr. Lobsang Sangey, the President of Tibet at the inaugural address of VoW 2020, on Nov
Incidentally, that was the same day when the US gave recognition to Tibet. The question of
whether India should also give recognition to nations like Tibet and Taiwan has been an
apposite matter of discourse for ages. The issue has gained paramountcy owing to the
conflicts across the northern borders of India. It must be noted that India never shared a
border with China prior to 1949 when the People’s Republic of China hadn’t annexed Tibet.
Tibet and Taiwan have been victims of gross human rights violations over a long period.
India’s recognition of these areas wouldn’t just strengthen them on the global platform, but
also set us precedence for other nation-states to come ahead for the two nation’s liberation.
Should this come off, a major part of India’s border issues would be resolved. Should India,
therefore, take steps to take the Guru-Chelā relationship to a level of further trust and
To deliberate on the multiple facets of the same, the Savoy State room had the finals of the
erudite VoW Mantrana National Debate Championship 2020, on the agenda, “This house
believes that India should recognize Tibet and Taiwan.” The distinguished jury of the debate
included, Smt. Jyoti Dhawan, Dr. Suchismita Sengupta Pandey, and Dr. P K Sharma. The
moderator of the debate was Mr. Ujjwal.
After multiple rounds involving over 240 students across 17 states and Union Territories of
India, four participants qualified for the finals of the VoW- Mantrana Debate, 2020. The
speakers, in the debate, were given four minutes to put across their points. This was followed
by a rebuttal, wherein questions were asked by each of the three jury and one participant.
Two participants spoke ‘for’ the motion and two ‘against’.
The first speaker, Sudeep Krishna from Jamia Millia Islamia emphasized that India needs to
stop the policy of appeasement. He drew interesting parallels between the state of Tibet and
the state of Vibhīṣaṇa in the Indian epic, the Mahābhārata. He did accentuate how the
Chinese aggression on Tibet was a violation of the Shimla convention and the Treaty of
Westphalia. One of the gripping statements that Sudeep made was, ‘India recognizing Tibet
and Taiwan wouldn’t be an act of revenge; it’d rather be a solution of tomorrow.’ He
remarked that India should take advantage of the political instability in China. The world has
turned hostile towards China owing to the spread of COVID-19. India could capitalize on
such moments to weaken China diplomatically and subsequently emerge as a world
leader. The jury and a participant asked a few intriguing questions to the first speaker, most
of which he did answer ingeniously.
The second speaker, Mahi Faizal from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of
Delhi started off by highlighting the peace and cooperation that India and China have shared,
despite a few occurrences of conflicts. She strongly advocated the opinion that playing the
Tibet and Taiwan card would be detrimental to India. The peaceful coexistence shouldn’t be
demolished to give way to hostility. She even talked of how India’s refuge to the Dalai Lama
became one of the prime reasons for the tension in the international relations of the two
countries and emphasized on the fact that Taiwan had never been an independent country.
In Mahi’s opinion, China could, as a reaction against India’s hostility, resort to harming or
denying access to pilgrimage centres like the Kailash Mansarovar, Buddhist Monasteries in
Tibet, etc. She, therefore, advocated for a sensitive approach in each other’s internal matters.
India has historically recognized Taiwan as a part of China. China, in turn, has also
recognized Sikkim as a part of India. India should therefore aim at strengthening the ties with
its neighbour, ensuring mutual benefits.
The third speaker, Nidhi Rawat from DAVPG, Dehradun in her opening sentences decisively
compared the Chinese government to Adolf Hitler. She urged that Tibet needed India’s help
and intervention and that India must, in no way fear the Chinese in championing for human
rights and freedom in Tibet and Taiwan. This would, as Nidhi opined, bear out India’s
look-east and act-east policy. China, she said, had always been a threat to India’s territorial
integrity. On being asked by one of the jury members, whether India should take recourse to a
tacit diplomatic policy or an aggressive military action, Nidhi clearly propounded the need to
have strategic diplomacy. This she argued, elucidating the probability of an unimagined
collateral damage in the course of a full-fledged war.
Sanya Sehgal, from MCMDAV, Chandigarh was the last speaker of the debate. She alluded
the situation of the Indo-China conflict to the game of chess, emphasizing why we mustn’t
kill the opponent’s pawn at the cost of our kings. She quoted the Dalai Lama stating that
Tibet does not want independence; all that it wants is development. An escalating conflict
with China at this moment would be unsettling for India, particularly in context of a technical
recession of the Indian economy. Sanya did foreground the fact that China is undoubtedly at
an upper pedestal vis-à-vis India when it comes to technological advancement or defence
prowess. India should, therefore abstain from taking risks that would be inimical to her. In
return of the one-China policy of India, India should put weight on China to follow a
one-India policy. India has issues at hand, wherein the steering wheel lies at India’s hand.
Focussing on the same, India must play smartly and wisely to bring the globe against
problems like terrorism, in one accord. A fluctuating foreign policy on India’s part must be
avoided, for it would be deleterious to India’s credibility in international politics and
The end of the debate was followed by brief comments by the jury on the issue. Smt. Jyoti
Dhawan remarked that no one wanted a war; India to date has never engaged in the first step
towards armed conflicts. However, this mustn’t be treated as a show of weakness. She opined
that we have to take a nuanced step of both diplomacy and military assertion. According to
Smt. Dhawan, India is going in the right direction. Dr. P. K. Sharma called for the need to be
more assertive; he said that the enemy was not at all to be trusted. “We should be very firm;
we must recognize Taiwan. We have already started heading towards it,” said Dr. Sharma.
Dr. Suchismita Sengupta Pandey made a captivating comment, saying “China is a dragon
whose tentacles span and create problems across its length. She believed that we must have
an independent say on what we believe and a clearly defined strategy to move forward. The
jury was unanimous in remarking that judging such scholarly debate was a Herculean task.
The level of wisdom and intellect in the debate made the jury wish if the recordings could be
made available for the public to access.
The moderator, Mr. Ujjwal disclosed the result. The top two scorers would get a cash prize of
₹31,000 followed by ₹11000 for the next two. Sudeep Krishna from Jamia Millia Islamia
bagged the first position, followed by Nidhi Rawat from DAVPG, Dehradun. Sanya Sehgal,
from MCMDAV, Chandigarh, and Mahi Faizal from Lady Shri Ram College for Women,
University of Delhi stood third and fourth respectively.
Mr. Ujjwal definitely needs to be commended to ensure a hassle-free flow and intriguing
moderation of the debate. The panellists were very well-informed, courteous, and diligent
throughout the session. The VoW Mantrana National Debate Championship 2020, overall
was quite engaging and brought forth such new analytical perspectives in the entire discourse
that the policy-makers must also pay heed to while India prepares herself to become a global