`China, India, Pakistan owe quite a bit to Tibet`

Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay has urged China to grant autonomy to Tibet.

Gaya: Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay has urged China to grant autonomy to Tibet in accordance with the legal and constitutional means it adopted while giving autonomous status to Macau and Hong Kong earlier.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the Buddhist religious ceremony, Kalachakra, here, Sangay lashed out at China for its perceived ``bias`` in granting autonomy to regions within its territory.

"Why are the Tibetans not granted autonomy when they have granted it to Hong Kong, Macau and are willing to grant it for Taiwan? There lies the major question. I think that the indication seems to be, you all are Tibetans, you all are different, hence we cannot grant you autonomy," said Sangay.

Since the past several decades, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and Chinese government have been at loggerheads with each other over the issue of Tibet. China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since its troops marched in 1950.

Underscoring Tibet`s geo-political significance, Sangay asserted that China as well as several Asian nations, including India, had been using the vast water resources available in Tibet since centuries.

"All of Asia, India, Pakistan and Thailand, China owes quite a bit to Tibet because they all are drinking Tibetan water. Nowadays you have to pay quite a bit of money to, you know, buy water and we have been providing free water for centuries. Not that we want to charge, but hopefully at least the Chinese population will realise that each time they drink water, they are drinking from Tibet and Chinese leadership will have second thoughts to say something nasty about us," added Sangay.

Tibet marks China`s western edge and is a vital link between China, south and central Asia. The region is dubbed as ``Asia`s Water Tower”,` since the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is a crucial water source and store for China, whose unevenly distributed water resources are said to be in crisis.

Tibet`s glaciers and snow-fed highlands also feed Asia`s great rivers, the Brahmaputra, Mekong, Yangtze, Indus, Yellow and Salween.