Beijing/New Delhi, Apr 3: Chinese objection to Buddhist Spiritual Leader Dalai Lama's Arunachal Pradesh visit seems to be driven out of an apprehension that this would have a very positive impact on the people of Tibet.
China had forcibly occupied Tibet since 1959 and the Dalai Lama had taken refuge in India with his followers. But there have been movements going on to free Tibet from the Chinese slavery.
China seems to be apprehensive of the positive effect the visit of Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh would have on the citizens of Tibet, a Buddhist-dominated region that China had forcibly occupied.
This fear of the Chinese was visible during the routine press conference of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang held on March 31.
The proposed visit of Dalai Lama, highly revered spiritual leader of the Buddhists world over, to Arunachal Pradesh, had come under sharp criticism from the Chinese authorities. China had urged the Government of India to cancel permission to the leader to visit Arunachal Pradesh.
Since 1962 Indo-China war, China considers Arunachal Pradesh as ‘disputed territory’ and leaves no opportunity to lay its claim on the land. India, in the past, had cancelled the permission to the Buddhist leader to visit Arunachal Pradesh.
But this time the Modi Government allowed Dalai Lama to travel to Arunachal Pradesh, especially Tawang Monastery considered important for the Buddhists. India’s Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh has categorically rejected the Chinese demand to cancel permission to Dalai Lama. Arunachal Pradesh is Indian territory and Dalai Lama can go there, Rijiju had said.
Governor of Assam Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and other dignitaries welcomed the Buddhist Spiritual leader on his arrival in Guwahati on Sunday.
Dalai Lama had begun his sojourn in the northeast and visited Guwahati on Sunday where he was received by the Assam Rifles retired Havildar Naren Chandra Das. Das was one amongst the seven Indian soldiers to welcome Dalai Lama in 1959 on the Indian soil when he sought political asylum in India.
Observers believe that Dalai Lama’s this visit to Arunachal Pradesh will be most historic and would yield good positive results and this is one of the reasons China has opposed his visit to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
China had earlier protested Dalai Lama’s visits to Arunachal Pradesh which has a considerable Buddhist population in Kameng and Tawang districts who revere the Buddhist spiritual leader.
When a question was raised on this issue, the Chinese Spokesman Lu Kang said that China feels that the relations between the two neighbours could be affected adversely by allowing Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh. “...in the past, things that provoked China's firm opposition did occur, and they did cause harm to China-India relations. Therefore, we have asked India to earnestly honour its political pledges and avoid damaging China-India relations. Otherwise, India only stands to get hurt”.
Lu Kang further said that China and India are two important developing countries. We are also neighbours. To maintain friendly relations between two developing countries is for sure in the interests of the two peoples. However, relations can only be developed on the basis of adhering to certain principles.
Elaborating on the Chinese stand on the issue, the Chinese Foreign Office Spokesman further said that China has expressed its serious concern about the relevant developments. China’s position on the issue of the eastern part of China-India borders is clear-cut and consistent. The Dalai group has long engaged in anti-China and separatist activities and made its disgraceful performance on the border issues between China and India. India is very clear about the seriousness of issues related to the 14th Dalai Lama and the sensitivity of its border issues with China. Under such circumstances, India still invites the 14th Dalai Lama to visit disputed areas of China-India borders. This will gravely damage the peace and stability of the border regions between China and India and China-India relations.
He said that China firmly opposes the 14th Dalai Lama's visit to areas where China and India have territorial disputes and has stated our concerns to India for multiple times. We again urge India to stick to its political commitment on Tibet-related issues and our important consensus on border issues, not to make any move that could further complicate the border issues, and not to give the group of the 14th Dalai Lama a stage to carry out anti-China and separatist activities, so that we can maintain the healthy and steady growth of China-India relations.