The Chinese government should recognise that the Dalai Lama is the key to resolving the Sino-Tibetan conflict and should invite him to "Tibet and China on pilgrimage without any precondition", the president of the Tibetan government-in-exile Penpa Tsering said today.
He was speaking at a ceremony to mark the birthday of the Tibetan spiritual leader, who turned 86.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed their greetings to the Dalai Lama on his birthday.
"Spoke on phone to His Holiness the @DalaiLama to convey greetings on his 86th birthday. We wish him a long and healthy life," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
The 14th Dalai Lama has made India his home since fleeing China in 1959.
"His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of the foremost guides of our time and is one of the few individuals who can reorient Sino-Tibetan history toward a positive direction.
"The Chinese government should, therefore, recognise that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the key to resolving the Sino-Tibetan conflict," Penpa Tsering, who was elected as the president or Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in May, said.
He asked China to utilise the opportunity offered by the "mutually beneficial Middle Way Approach" to foster a harmonious environment where Tibetans and Chinese can co-exist amicably.
"Therefore, we appeal to the Chinese government to earnestly invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and China on pilgrimage without any precondition," Penpa Tsering said
At the ceremony, he paid rich tributes to the Dalai Lama for his "visionary leadership" and pledged to strengthen Tibetan unity by resolving the minor differences within through constructive discussion.
"When it comes to our struggle, we must recognise our common opponent and work towards resolving our differences by engaging in constructive discussion.
"Our consolidated efforts should be directed towards fulfilling our common goals which is the mandatory and historic responsibility of the exiled Tibetan people," said the Sikyong.
The Chinese government officials and the Dalai Lama or his representatives have not met in formal negotiations since 2010.
Beijing has in the past accused the Dalai Lama of indulging in "separatist" activities, however, the Tibetan spiritual leader has insisted that he is not seeking independence but "genuine autonomy for all Tibetans living in the three traditional provinces of Tibet" under the "Middle-Way approach".
In a virtual address from his residence in Dharamshala, the Dalai Lama said he has taken full advantage of India's freedom and religious harmony and is committed to reviving ancient Indian knowledge.
He thanked people from across the globe who greeted him on his birthday and said he would continue to serve humanity and combat climate change.
"Since I became a refugee and settled in India, I have taken full advantage of India's freedom and religious harmony. I want to assure you that for the rest of my life I am committed to reviving ancient Indian knowledge," said the Dalai Lama, whose real name is Tenzin Gyatso.
"I really appreciate the Indian concept of secular values, not dependent on religion, such as honesty, karuna (compassion) and ahimsa (non-violence)," he added.
China had asserted in May that any successor to the present Dalai Lama should be approved by it, ruling out recognition to any heir nominated by the India-based Tibetan spiritual leader or by his followers.