KOLKATA: China’s consul general in Kolkata, Ma Zhanwu minced no words in issuing a direct warning to India to face ‘consequences that may hamper bilateral ties’ if Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama is allowed to visit Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on April 4.
During a media briefing on the upcoming visit by a Chinese business delegation of 25 companies from Shandong province to the city on April 5 and 6, the consul general said that allowing a secessionist leader to visit a disputed territory would not be tolerated.
“China has expressed strong opposition to India’s decision regarding the Dalai Lama. We believe this decision goes against the promise made by the Indian government. We hope India will take effective measures and cancel the visit,” Ma Zhanwu said.
The consul general added that Tawang is a disputed territory between the two Asian nations and Dalai Lama should be kept out of it.
“China’s ministry of foreign affairs had met the Indian ambassador in Beijing last week demanding cancellation of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang. The Chinese ambassador in India also gave a representation to India’s ministry of external affairs regarding the visit. Despite these measures, if the visit happens, China will be forced to take action against India that affects our bilateral ties,” Zhanwu added.
This is not the Dalai Lama’s first visit to Arunachal Pradesh and India has maintained that the Tibetan spiritual leader has the right to move around anywhere in the country where is he currently staying in exile.
On April 4, the Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit one of India’s oldest and largest Buddhist monasteries in Tawang, a border town which was overrun by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) during the 1962 India-China War.