Rein It In, India Warns China On Criticism Over Dalai Lama In Arunachal

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India makes it clear Dalai Lama's trip has no political meaning (File photo)

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. India makes it clear Dalai Lama's trip has no political meaning
  2. China asks India not to support Dalai Lama's "separatist" activity
  3. He is revered spiritual leader, says India

India has warned China against creating "an artificial controversy" around the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, pointing out that the exiled 81-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader has visited the north-eastern state in the past, and that "no additional colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities and visits to various states of India."

China claims the region in the eastern Himalayas as "South Tibet", and regularly denounces foreign leaders' visits to the region as attempts to bolster India's territorial claims. India has said firmly that Arunachal is an integral part of India and that China should respect that.

China, which considers the Dalai Lama a dangerous separatist, said on Friday it was "resolutely opposed" to the visit, and urged India to "avoid taking any actions that would further complicate the border issue".

Delhi says the trip to Arunachal is a religious one and no political meaning should be attached to it.

"Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable part of India and China should not object to his visit and interfere in India's internal affairs," said Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju today.

The Dalai Lama has also described his visit as aimed at promoting religious harmony.

He said he is happy to be back in a region that revived his memories of escape from Tibet in 1959 in fear of his life, after China poured troops into the region to crush an uprising.

"I still feel the feeling of that time," he said.

As a young monk, the Dalai Lama arrived in India after a 13-day trek through the Himalayas, disguised as a soldier to evade detection by Chinese troops.

On Sunday, the Dalai Lama recalled the warm welcome he received when he arrived and the Indian government offered him a base in the hill town of Dharamsala, where he was allowed to set up a government-in-exile.

"The days prior to my arrival in India were filled with tension and the only concern was safety, but I experienced freedom when I was received warmheartedly by the people and officials and a new chapter began in my life," PTI quoted him as saying.

(with inputs from agencies)

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