DHARAMSALA, India, March 14 (UPI) -- The Dalai Lama Monday formally submitted his resignation as Tibet's political leader to the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.
Tibetan Parliament Speaker Penpa Tsering read the letter in which Tenzing Gyatso, who is regarded as the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama, asked the lawmakers to officially relieve him of his political responsibility, the Hindustan Times reported.
"I want to acknowledge here that many of my fellow Tibetans, inside and outside Tibet, have earnestly requested me to continue to give political leadership at this critical time," the 75-year-old Dalai Lama wrote.
"My intention to devolve political authority derives neither from a wish to shirk responsibility nor because I am disheartened."
The Dalai Lama called on Tibetans to keep striving for autonomy from China, which has controlled Tibet for 52 years.
"It is extremely important that we ensure the continuity of our exile Tibetan administration and our struggle until the issue of Tibet has been successfully resolved," he said.
"If we have to remain in exile for several more decades, a time will inevitably come when I will no longer be able to provide leadership. It is necessary that we establish a sound system of governance while I remain able and healthy, in order that the exile Tibetan administration can become self-reliant rather than being dependent on the Dalai Lama."
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibetans and since he was 18 has also been their political leader. Since 2001, however, Lobsang Tenzin, 71, also known as the Samdhong Rinpoche, has been prime minister of the government in exile with final authority over political matters.