The Tibetan issue is no longer a struggle for political independence, the Dalai Lama has said, even as he asserted that there is a need to focus on preservation of Tibet’s cultural, religious and linguistic identity.

Political independence is mainly meant for the happiness of the people, but does it alone guarantee happiness, the Tibetan spiritual leader asked.

“There is a growing feeling among the top leaders in China that their policies have not been able to solve the Tibet issue in the last 70 years. So they should follow a more realistic approach. Even though Tibet was an independent country, politically China occupies Tibet today,” Dalai Lama told news magazine ‘The Week’ in an interview.

“Under the given circumstances, I have been saying for some time now that there is a need to focus on preservation of Tibetan culture, religion and identity. It is no longer a struggle for political independence,” Dalai Lama said.

The 14th Dalai Lama left Tibet in 1959 to escape Chinese occupation and has been keeping China on tenterhooks about his successor.

In the interview, given in Himachal Pradesh’s McLeodganj, the Dalai Lama also said as long as the Tibetan people can preserve their thousands of years old cultural heritage, religion and identity, it will bring them inner peace and happiness.

“For this, I really admire the Indian Union for its unity in diversity. In a similar way, the People’s Republic of China and Tibet can coexist keeping Tibet’s cultural, linguistic and religious identity,” Dalai Lama said.