Govt snubs China over Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit

The government has said that no additional colour should be ascribed to Dalai Lama’s religious and spiritual activities in India

Hardnews Bureau Delhi

In the wake of the controversies generated by Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the government today asserted that "no additional colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities."

"The government has clearly stated on several occasions that His Holiness Dalai Lama is a revered religious leader who is deeply respected as such by the Indian people. No additional colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities and visits to various states of India," Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Gopal Baglay said in a statement here.

"The government, therefore, urges that no artificial controversy should be created around his present visit to Arunachal Pradesh," he said.

China has raised objections to Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh time and again in the past. Last week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, "China resolutely opposes the 14th Dalai Lama visiting border regions disputed by China and India."

However, Indian government responded by asserting that the Dalai Lama will be in Arunachal Pradesh on a religious trip from April 4-13 and that as a “secular democracy” they would not stop him from travelling to any part of the country.

The Dalai Lama is also expected to meet Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who is an elected MP from Arunachal West parliamentary constituency.

The Dalai Lama last visited the Tawang monastery in 2009 and stayed there for four days. Earlier, he had briefly stayed there after moving out from Tibet in 1959 following a major conflict against the Chinese rule.

Last year, China had also protested against the visit of then American ambassador to India Richard Verma to the area.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as “Southern Tibet,” India says that the dispute covered Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.

With inputs from UNI