DHARAMSALA, 29 July: The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Bureau office in New Delhi to assure continued support for Tibet.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken “met briefly with Ngodup Dongchung, who serves as a representative of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), also known as the Tibetan government in exile,” in a move that is likely to provoke China,” Reuters reported.
“The Dalai Lama obviously is a globally revered spiritual leader and so the gesture was gratefully received and appreciated,” the report added citing a US state department spokesperson who requested anonymity.
The report noted that the meeting was the most significant contact between the Tibetan and the US leadership since 2016.
“The meeting was one of the most conspicuous contacts between US and Tibetan officials since President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama in Washington in 2016.
Additionally, the officials from the department have stated that the meeting sends “a clear signal that the Biden administration will continue the Trump administration’s high-level engagements and support to the Tibetan side.”
“It also has to be seen in the context of the Tibet Policy and Support Act passed by the US Congress last year, which calls for the Tibetans to have the final say in choosing the successor to the Dalai Lama and the setting up of a US consulate in Lhasa.”
Secretary of State Blinken is the first high-ranking diplomat from the Biden administration to have visited India.
The US secretary of state is in India for a two-day visit to deepen bilateral ties with New Delhi.
Blinken landed in India on Tuesday and met with his Indian counterpart, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and other officials on Wednesday before calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
With the India Prime Minister, the top US diplomat is stated to have discussed “a wide range of issues, including continued cooperation on COVID-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis”.
Blinken has described the relationship between the US and India as “one of the most important in the world” while speaking before a group of civil society leaders in the Indian capital including the director of the Tibet House in New Delhi, Geshe Dorji Damdul.
“The Indian people and the American people believe in human dignity and equality of opportunity, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms including freedom of religion and belief . . . these are the fundamental tenets of democracies like ours,” he said.