By Indrani Bagchi | TNN
NEW DELHI, India, 16 December 2016
India on Friday dismissed Chinese objection to a meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Pranab Mukherjee recently, saying he was a revered spiritual leader and it was a non-political event.
“India has a consistent position. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama is a respected and revered spiritual leader. It was a non-political event organised by Nobel laureates dedicated to the welfare of children,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
He was asked about China taking strong exception to the Tibetan spiritual leader’s meeting with President Mukherjee at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan during a children’s summit and asserting that India must respect China’s “core interests” to avoid “any disturbance” to the bilateral ties.
“China strongly opposes any contacts between the Dalai Lama and officials of any countries. China has urged India to clearly recognize the Dalai Lama’s anti-Chinese and separatist nature, to respect China’s core interests and concerns, to take effective measures to eliminate the negative influences of the incident, and to avoid disturbing China-India ties,” said Geng Shuang, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“Recently in disregard of China’s solemn representation and strong opposition, the Indian side insisted on arranging for the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to the Indian Presidential palace, where he took part in an event and met President Mukherjee.”
The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Arunachal Pradesh, an event that has already riled beijing. The US ambassador to India, Richard Verma too, visited Arunachal Pradesh recently, inviting another storm of protests. Even the Karmapa Lama, 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has been cleared to visit Arunachal Pradesh.
Last week, India had said that it would try to help Mongolia tide over an economic crisis in deep winter, after China imposed border tariffs on their goods as punishment for Mongolia hosting the Dalai Lama for the ninth time in their country.