'Nothing unusual in Dalai Lama's meeting with PM' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Nothing unusual in Dalai Lama's meeting with PM'

delhi Updated: Aug 21, 2010 11:28 IST

The Dalai Lama's top aide, Tempa Tsering on Saturday said the Tibetan spiritual leader made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week to thank him for the hospitality shown in the last five decades. He added that there was nothing unusual about the meeting.

"He has been living in India for the past 50 years. There was nothing special about the meeting. He thanked the prime minister for good care India has taken of him during this period," Kalon Tempa Tsering, Dalai Lama's representative in Delhi, told IANS.

He, however, pointed out that the meeting was part of the Dalai Lama's regular interaction with Indian leaders from time to time.

"What's so unusual about the meeting? He keeps meeting Indian leaders," Tsering said while alluding to the meeting between the prime minister and the Dalai Lama Aug 11.

This was the first meeting between the two since the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) returned to power over a year ago.

"He met Vice-President Hamid Ansari a year ago. Foreign secretaries have visited Dharamsala to meet Dalai Lama," he said.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao visited Dharamsala and met the Dalai Lama and his senior aides last month.

In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to Himachal Pradesh's Dharamsala, which also houses the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Beijing, which regards the Dalai Lama as a "splittist", has objected to the meeting through diplomatic channels, sources said.

Tsering said there was nothing unusual in China's criticism. "The moment he opens his mouth, they start criticising him," he said.

China had vigorously opposed the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, over which Beijing claims sovereignty, in November last year and protested Manmohan Singh's visit to the state last October.

Manmohan Singh had defended the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal saying he was India's "honoured guest" and has right to visit any part of the country.