Dalai Lama rejects book’s claim about Xi meeting: No basis for government of India being cautious of the initiative

A file photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

DHARAMSALA, 22 May: The office of the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has dismissed a claim made in a newly released book that India’s disapproval prevented a meeting between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014.

A secretary from the office of the Dalai Lama, Chhime R. Chhoekyapa has dismissed the claim by arguing that there is no question of New Delhi being cautious over the meeting as Chinese authorities had not given a definite response after they proposed a meeting between the two.

“Although we had proposed a meeting between His Holiness and President Xi Jinping during his visit to India in 2014, the Chinese authorities had not given a definite response,” the AFP reported the Secretary as saying in a statement.

“Therefore, there was no basis for the government of India being cautious of the initiative.” He concluded.

Indian journalist Sonia Singh, the editorial director and president of the NDTV ethics committee has said in her book titled ‘Defining India: Through Their Eyes’ that India’s disapproval has prevented a possible meeting between the Tibetan spiritual leader and the Chinese President citing a formal interview with the former in November 2018.

“In 2014, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Modi, I requested a meeting with him. President Xi Jinping agreed, but the Indian government was cautious about the meeting, so it didn’t happen,” Sonia Singh quoted the Dalai Lama as telling her in a rare conversation for her book. Apart from the interview with the Tibetan Nobel laureate, the book also features 14 other interviews with prominent Indian personalities such as Amartya Sen, Aamir Khan, Raghuram Rajan, Sachin Tendulkar, Pranab Mukherjee, Arun Jaitley, Nirmala Sitharaman and Sania Mirza among others.

The statement from the office of the Dalai Lama came days after India denied knowledge of any such meeting proposal.

According to a report on the Hindu, an anonymous senior government official has said that the Dalai Lama’s statement doesn’t seem to be accurate and added if they had wanted to meet, they would have been allowed.

in the same report, a second senior government official whose name has also been withheld has denied that any indication had come from President Xi’s office for a possible meeting and further added that the Dalai Lama’s emissaries had been in touch with a Hong-Kong based Chinese businessman who was believed to be influential with the Chinese government, but the meeting was never agreed upon.

Though the claim over the possible meeting between the two leaders has been denied by both the Dalai Lama and India, the author of the book has confirmed that the remarks had been made on record and that a transcript of the interview had also been cleared by the Dalai Lama’s office for use in the book, the report added.

Representatives of the Dalai Lama held nine rounds of talks with China until 2010 and in 2012, the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama resigned from their positions citing overall deteriorating situation inside Tibet and “lack of willingness and sincerity” from the Chinese side.

Since then the dialogue was open through only informal channels.

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