The Arunachal Pradesh government has invited the Dalai Lama to inaugurate a superspeciality hospital in Tawang, in an apparent snub to China that claims the land as its own and has made its dislike for the spiritual leader known.
Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu on Tuesday said: “The Dalai Lama is our spiritual head, and like me, all Buddhists in Arunachal Pradesh venerate him. Nobody has any business objecting to his visit.” Although he did not name China, Khandu made it clear that his government did not care about Beijing’s objections to the Dalai Lama’s visits.
Ever since the 1962 aggression, Beijing has been claiming some 90,000 sq km of the state as Chinese territory. The claim is on the basis of Tawang’s past of having been under the spiritual control of Lhasa. In January, Beijing had expressed displeasure after PM Manmohan Singh referred to Arunachal Pradesh as India’s “land of the rising sun”.
If Khandu felt the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang was “our internal matter”, he also made it clear that whatever was happening in Tibet was the internal matter of China.