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US special envoy for Tibet, Uzra Zeya arrives in Delhi on India-Nepal visit

Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights & the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues (Photo: @UnderSecStateJ/Twitter)

Uzra Zeya, the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues arrived in India on Tuesday to collaborate on human rights, democratic governance and advance humanitarian priorities. Accompanied by Anjali Kaur—USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia, Zeya will also visit Nepal during the visit.

India, followed by Nepal, hosts the largest number of Tibetans outside of Tibet. Now the US, Canada, Germany and Switzerland also hold significant numbers of the Tibetan diaspora.

Upon landing in India, Zeya tweeted: "Namaste! Great to be back in New Delhi. Look forward to discussions on advancing US-India shared values of human rights, humanitarian support, and democratic governance".

She will also discuss partnering with India and Nepal during the Year of Action for the Summit for Democracy.

The Indian origin diplomat was appointed as the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues in December last year. She has been assigned the task of promoting dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama with a view to bringing a consensual agreement on Tibet.

Zeya's visit to India and Nepal comes close on the heels of Tibetan political leader Penpa Tsering's visit to Germany, United States, and Canada a few days back. Tsering heads the Central Tibetan Administration, or the Tibetan government-in-exile, and met with leaders sympathetic to the Tibetan cause during his visit.

He also met US Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The US official is supposed to catalyse discussions between China and the Dalai Lama's representatives that have broken down completely during Chinese President Xi Jinping's reign. Beijing has also increased surveillance and security in Tibet with the Tibetan monks and monasteries bearing the brunt of his coercive actions. One of the important tasks that Zeya has been mandated with is to address the human rights issues of the Tibetans, who are now spread across the world.

Her appointment, coupled with the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020, put international spotlight on Tibetan issues and nudged an ambivalent American policy on Tibet towards one of certainty and action. The US has also allocated funding for Tibetan journalists as well as students.

Tibetan organisations had welcomed her appointment with the hope that she will work towards rapprochement between the Dalai Lama's envoys and Beijing. 

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