DHARAMSALA, 2 June: Former Indian diplomat Phunchok Stobdan has tendered an apology to the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his followers over his remarks on the Dalai Lama that drew a spate of backlash.
Stobdan, India’s former Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, who has earlier questioned the Dalai Lama’s silence over China’s transgressions in eastern Ladakh and went as far as to accuse the Tibetan Nobel laureate of collaborating with China has said that his remarks were not aimed at hurting the Dalai Lama or his followers as he extended his apology.
“I perhaps used some not so good words about HIs Holiness the Dalai Lama, but that was not meant to hurt anybody including his Holiness and his followers in Ladakh,” Stobdan says in his backhanded apology that has left many appalled.
He added that “the air should be clear as there are no other ulterior motives behind hurting some religious sentiments of anybody” and that his comments were made in a proper spirit.”
the former diplomat professed that “some wordings may have been wrong, some words may have been not conveyed properly,” as he blamed it on his poor Hindi.
“In the process, anybody who is hurt through this statement of mine, I sincerely apologise,” he said and added that his remarks that were condemned and protested against were made “as a very well known international national expert on security and strategic affairs.”
He stressed that the ongoing border tension between India and China has deeply worried the people in Ladakh.
“This can not go on and we need support from people, and His Holiness has a lot of deep influence in the area,” he quipped.
The All Ladakh Buddhist Association and the Ladakh Gonpa Association have called out Stobdan for “hurting the sentiments” of the community, while the Merchant Association of Leh has declared a strike on Monday in “display of solidarity” over his comments on Aaj Tak Hindi News.
Meanwhile, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration Dr Lobsang Sangay has described Stobdan’s remarks shocking and outrageous.
“Personally, it was shocking for me to hear what he said, particularly the mannerism and the language he used in regards to His Holiness.”