NEW DELHI: In demonstrating its resolve to stand up to China on the issue of Dalai Lama, India on Tuesday made it clear that no “artificial controversy” should be created around the Tibetan Spiritual guru’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement enumerating six other instances when Dalai Lama, the “revered religious leader”, had visited the north-eastern state in the past.
“The Government has clearly stated on several occasions that His Highness 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,” the MEA statement read. The statement has been issued as Dalai Lama landed in Bomdila, in Arunachal Pradesh. The Tibetan Spiritual leader is on a 12-day tour of the north-eastern states and is scheduled to reach Tawang on April 6.
“The Government, therefore, urges that no artificial controversy should be created around his present visit to Arunachal Pradesh,” the statement said. The Indian government has shown assertiveness in extending invitation to Dalai Lama, something that has irked China quite a bit.
The two countries have been having a bad run at the bilateral ties with Beijing refuses to budge from its opposition to New Delhi’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and in putting Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Masood Azhar in the UN’s sanction list.
The visit of Dalai Lama to Tawang – a town on Indo-China border that Beijing contend to be part of Southern China – is fraught with symbolism as it was the place where the 14th Tibetan Dalai Lama had crossed over to India in 1959 after an epic 15-day journey by foot from Lhasa.
In Tawang, Dalai Lama is expected to initiate 800 monks at the four centuries-old Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery in Tawang, the largest in India and second to Lhasa Monastery. China has been repeatedly warning India against the visit.