Cancel Dalai Lama's Visit To Arunachal Pradesh, Says China

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Cancel Dalai Lama's Visit To Arunachal Pradesh, Says China

The last time the Dalai Lama went to Arunachal was in November 2009. (File Photo)

Kolkata:  Five days before the Dalai Lama's trip to Arunachal Pradesh, the Chinese Consul General in Kolkata strongly repeated China's position on the visit. "India must cancel the visit," said Ma Zahnwu at a press meet in Kolkata.

"China has expressed not just reservation but strong opposition to the decision by the Indian government regarding the activities of the Dalai Lama," he said, adding that he hopes for an announcement by the Indian government cancelling such activities.

"Dalai Lama is not just a religious figure but also a political one and his visit has been strongly opposed already by our government," Mr Ma added, "We believe that this kind of activity goes against the promise made by the Indian government regarding the activities by people from China's Tibet."

The press conference by the Chinese Consulate in Kolkata was originally called to announce a visit by a top business delegation from Shangdong headed by the region's top political leader. The team will discuss investment opportunities in Bengal.

The last time the Dalai Lama went to Arunachal was in November 2009. China had objected to it. India had responded by keeping it low-key and making it look like a personal visit, with almost no media allowed.

This time, the Narendra Modi government consented to the visit on October 27 and the Arunchal government is the host for the ten-day visit.

On March 3, China's foreign ministry issued what China-watchers say was a warning. Spokesman Geng Shuang said, "China is gravely concerned over information that India has granted permission to the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh."

"An invitation to him to visit the mentioned territory would cause serious damage to peace and stability of the border region and India-China relations," the statement said.

China's reservations on the Dalai Lama stem from the 1959 Tibet rebellion, when the Dalai Lama escaped to India, which China saw as an incursion into its territorial integrity.

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