Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Sunday greeted Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on his 79th birthday and wished him a long and healthy life.
Presenting a bouquet on behalf of the chief minister to Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay at a function here, Transport Minister G.S. Bali said the spiritual leader's message of love, compassion, non-violence and religious harmony was a great inspiration for the international community.
Currently, the Dalai Lama is in Leh, the mountainous district of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, to participate in the highly venerated 'kalachakra' (Wheel of Time) ceremony for world peace July 3-12.
Bali said the government and people of the state entreated the Dalai Lama not to shift his residence out of the state. The request came against the backdrop of some media reports that the Dalai Lama will move his residence from Dharamsala to south India.
The minister also sanctioned a financial assistance of Rs.3 crore for the construction of a road from lower Dharamsala town to McLeodganj, a suburb of Dharamsala, which is home to the Tibetan government-in-exile and a large Tibetan population.
He announced that the Tibetans could avail subsidised rice and wheat under the government of India's food security act.
Sangay said the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) dedicated 2014 as the "Year of the Great 14th Dalai Lama" to express his accomplishments for the cause of Tibet and the promotion of peace, inter-faith harmony and humane values.
Under the year-long programme, the CTA will organise 21 major events, which include some 300 smaller activities.
He said the CTA would mark the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday -- falling June 21, 2015 as per the Tibetan calendar -- with elaborate long-life offering to the Dalai Lama.
Hundreds of exiled Tibetans and foreigners Sunday joined in the 79th birthday celebrations of their spiritual leader here. Large crowds began to assemble since morning at the Tsuglagkhang temple for the celebrations.
Born July 6, 1935, at Taktser hamlet in northeastern Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognised at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.
He fled Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959, basing his government-in-exile here that never won recognition from any country. The Tibetan administration in exile is based in this northern Indian hill town.