By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, March 31: Beijing has called on New Delhi to cancel His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s scheduled visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
China has also warned India of serious repercussions to their bilateral ties and peace in the disputed border region if the latter allows the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh.
“India must cancel the visit,” the Chinese Consul General in Kolkata, Ma Zahnwu said at a press meet in Kolkata, according to a report by NDTV.com.
“Dalai Lama is not just a religious figure but also a political one and his visit has been strongly opposed already by our government. We believe that this kind of activity goes against the promise made by the Indian government regarding the activities by people from China’s Tibet,” Ma further added.
The Chinese Consul General in Kolkata made the remarks at a press conference held to announce a visit by a top business delegation from Shangdong led by the region’s top political leader to discuss investment opportunities in Bengal.
In a similar vein, Abhizeet Asom or Abhijit Barma, the Chairman of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA -I), a group identified by India as a terror outfit, in an open letter to the Dalai Lama dated March 28 has called China a friendly neighbor and warned the Tibetan spiritual leader to refrain from making any comments against China during his visit to Assam from April 1-3.
Despite China’s objection, the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi consented to the visit on October 27 last year.
On an invitation extended by the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on October 9 last year, the Tibetan spiritual leader left Dharamsala today to kick off his visit to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh from April 1- 12.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is set to visit Tawang, the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama, Tseyang Gyatso, on April 4. The Tibetan Nobel laureate’s further engagements in Arunachal Pradesh include, consecration of a new Tara Temple (Dolma lhakhang) in Lumla on April 4, a three-day teaching in Tawang from April 5 – 7, teaching in Dirang on April 10, teaching in Bomdila on April 11 and wrap up his visit with a teaching in Itanagar, on April 12.
India and China, the two Asian giants are at loggerheads over boundary disputes at Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh. While India sees China as occupying 38,000 sq km of its territory in Aksai Chin, China claims 90,000 sq km in Arunachal Pradesh as its territory.