India snubs China, says Dalai Lama free to visit Arunachal
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Wednesday dismissed China's objections to the Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh later this year and said that the Tibetan leader is "free to go anywhere in India".india Updated: Sep 16, 2009 16:13 IST
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Wednesday dismissed China's objections to the Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh later this year and said that the Tibetan leader is "free to go anywhere in India".
"Arunachal Pradesh is a part of India and the Dalai Lama is free to go anywhere in India," Krishna told IBN7 news channel in New Delhi.
"The only question is that he is not expected to comment on political developments," Krishna said.
The Dalai Lama has sought the Indian government's permission to visit Tawang, a monastery town in Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed by China.
Tibet's exiled leader plans to go there in November to inaugurate a hospital for which he had donated Rs 20 lakh ($40,000).
China has voiced "strong concern" over the proposed visit saying it "further reveals the Dalai clique's anti-China and separatist essence".
"We firmly oppose Dalai visiting the so-called Arunachal Pradesh," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu.
Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile headquartered in Indian town of Dharamsala, rubbished Beijing's objections to the Dalai Lama's visit.
"Arunachal Pradesh and its Tawang region are an integral part of India. If the Dalai Lama, who is staying here for the last 50 years, is visiting any part of the country why does this bother China?" he said.
"If the Dalai Lama goes to Chinese territories it can raise objection, but in this case it has no business to interfere," he added.
The Tibetan-government-in exile is not recognised by any country in the world.
China's objections to Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh comes amid reports of Chinese incursions into the Indian territory which have revived the spectre of the China threat.
India cited Chinese threat as its primary reason for going nuclear in 1998. Since then, the two countries have expanded their political and economic ties and are now trying to resolve the decades-long boundary dispute with negotiations.