Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on Monday denied a Chinese report that Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was visiting Tawang under pressure from India, pointing out that New Delhi does not deal with the travels of religious figures.
Beijing-based newspaper Global Times had quoted a Chinese analyst as saying that the Dalai Lama's visit to the area, which China calls southern Tibet, was done under pressure from India.
Tharoor told the India Economic Summit: “The Dalai Lama is free to travel anywhere in India... I have not heard the suggestion comes from us as we do not deal with the spiritual travels of spiritual leaders. He has to visit his flock as he sees fit.”
He added that he was “sure that the initiative (to visit Tawang) would have come from him”.
China has protested against the visit of the Dalai Lama to Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh. But Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called him an “honoured guest” who is free to visit any part of India.
The minister said India had been “very generous” by giving over “58,000 business visas” to the Chinese.
“As far as our basic policy is concerned, we would certainly be hesitant to offer employment to a foreigner for a job which could be done by an Indian in India,” said Tharoor.
India is currently revising its employment and business visa guidelines. It has asked all foreigners working in India on business visa to return to their country by Oct 31.