Dalai Lama is free to practice his religion and spirituality, says MEA

The statement came a day after former US Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the Dalai Lama while criticising Chinese leadership.
Dalai Lama arrives for a prayer at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala
Dalai Lama arrives for a prayer at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala file photo

NEW DELHI: India on Friday said the Dalai Lama is a “revered religious leader” who is free to conduct his “religious and spiritual activities” in the country, a statement that came after Beijing called the Tibetan spiritual leader a “political exile” and not a “pure religious figure”.

“India’s position on His Holiness Dalai Lama has been clear and consistent. He is a revered religious leader and deeply respected by people of India. His Holiness is accorded due courtesies and freedom to conduct his religious and spiritual activities,’’ said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal.

The statement came a day after former US Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the Dalai Lama while criticising Chinese leadership. A US Congressional delegation had an audience with Dalai Lama in Dharamshala.

China had objected to the US delegation visiting Dharamshala. “Its known that the 14th Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure but a political exile engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion. We urge the US side to adhere to its commitments of recognizing Xizang as a part of China and not support its independence,” said the Chinese embassy spokesperson in Delhi.

The US Congressional delegation later met PM Narendra Modi. “Had a very good exchange of views with friends from the US Congress in a delegation led by Michael McCaul. We deeply value the strong bipartisan support in advancing India-US Comprehensive Global Partnership,’’ said Modi.

McCaul in his meeting with Modi emphasised importance of India-US strategic partnership. “I told PM Modi that it is in the strategic interest of both the US and India to partner together to ensure democratic countries remain the leaders in producing both the next-generation weapons and technology,’’ McCaul said.

The delegation also said that they were aware that Beijing was imprisoning Tibetian activitists and called for meaningful autonomy for Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama will visit the US on June 22 where he is to undergo a knee surgery.

ABC documentary shows blatant untruths: India

India on Friday rejected ABC’s documentary Spies, Secrets and Threats: How the Modi government targets people overseas. “It contains blatant untruth, is biased, and reflects unprofessional reporting. The documentary appears to serve an agenda to malign India,” said MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal.

‘French journo’s permit was under consideration’

India has refuted French journalist Sebastien Farcis’ allegation that he had to leave India after 13 years as his work permit was not renewed. “Farcis is an OCI card holder, and requires approval to carry out journalistic assignments. He had re-applied for permit renewal in May 2024, his case was under consideration,” MEA said.

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