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The Chinese strategy seems to be working. “After meeting officials [from] Mount Kailash and Manasarovar, I found the Chinese authorities are interested in further improving the facilities,” Mr. Jaishankar told the Times of India.

China wants to establish a consulate general in the south Indian port city of Chennai. But the Indian government insists on a quid pro quo; that is, China must allow New Delhi to reopen its Lhasa consulate, which was forced to close after the 1962 Sino-Indian border war.

China has been mute on New Delhi’s counteroffer.

China has been conducting a terrorlike campaign in Tibet since the major 2008 ethnic conflict erupted. In desperation, more than three dozen Tibetans, some prominent Buddhist leaders, have resorted to the most tragic form of protest, burning themselves alive in series of protests over the past several months. At present, the Tibetan region is essentially sealed off from the outside world.

Analysts think setting up an Indian consulate in Lhasa almost certainly will become an oasis of hope and international support, as well as a popular site for asylum applications, in the prevailing environment of what many observers consider China’s state-sponsored program of terror and repression in Tibet.

Miles Yu’s column appears Thursdays. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com.