China Cautions India Against Dalai Lama’s Visit To Arunachal Pradesh – An Indian State
China Cautions India Against Dalai Lama’s Visit To Arunachal Pradesh – An Indian StateTibetan spiritual leader and Nobel laureate Dalai Lama (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

China opposed India’s invitation to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh. “It said it would harm relations between the neighbours,” reported Reuters.

The Dalai Lama has already accepted the invitation of the state’s chief minister to visit Arunachal Pradesh, and China is clearly not happy with that.

China’s bizarre objection – India is, after all, inviting the Dalai Lama to its own state – stems from its claim over 90,000 sq km of territory that is essentially Arunachal Pradesh, which China likes to call South Tibet.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said to the press:

We hope India will not further complicate matters on the China-India border and will not give the Dalai Lama clique a platform for its anti-China separatist activities. 

In response, an Indian foreign ministry spokesperson said:

The Dalai Lama is a revered spiritual figure and an honoured guest of India. He is absolutely free to travel to any part of the country...He has a sizeable following among the Buddhists in Arunachal Pradesh who would like to seek his blessings. He has visited the state in the past as well, and we see nothing unusual if he visits it again.

China had also objected earlier this month to the visit of United States Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, to Arunachal Pradesh. As reported in The Hindu, China had admonished the US, “warning that a third party's meddling would only complicate the dispute between Beijing and New Delhi”. At the time, the spokesperson had said:

We urge the United States to stop getting involved in the China-India territorial dispute and do more to benefit this region’s peace and tranquillity.

India and China have disagreed over parts of their 3,500km border, with India also claiming that China occupies 38,000 sq km of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau. They have had occasional border skirmishes for over five decades now, with even a brief war in 1962.

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