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Pelosi going to Dharamsala

The first woman Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi will meet the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, reports Nilova Roy Chaudhury.

delhi Updated: Mar 20, 2008 03:40 IST
Nilova Roy Chaudhury

The most interesting part of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to India will be her meeting with the Dalai Lama. The first woman Speaker of the US House of Representatives and third most powerful member of the American political hierarchy (after the President and Vice-President), will travel to Dharamsala on Friday.

For India, the Pelosi meeting provides an opportunity to send Beijing a message that the Dalai Lama is crucial to a peaceful resolution of the Tibet issue.

According to strategic analyst Brahma Chellaney, the Indian government is not embarrassed by Pelosi’s visit to meet the Tibetan monk.

“If India wanted to, it could have discouraged Pelosi from visiting at this point of time. The fact that she’s a Democrat means that she can provide a cover for both India and the US administration,” said Chellaney. “The Republican administration (of President George W Bush) has given a very muted response to the violence. Its reaction to Myanmar human rights violations some months ago was so much more aggressive.”

A senior government official said India could not stop people from visiting the Tibetan monk.

“She (Pelosi) is an American. So many people visit the Dalai Lama. How is India involved?” the official said.

China, which has accused the “Dalai clique” of instigating the violence in Tibet, would be wary of the outcome of the visit, after which Pelosi is due to meet the press. Pelosi was one of the prime movers behind the US administration’s decision to award the Dalai Lama the US Congressional Gold Medal last October, to which China had angrily protested.

Pelosi is also due to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday. The situation in Tibet will certainly come up during their discussions.