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‘Dalai Lama honoured guest’

world Updated: Oct 26, 2009 00:23 IST
Nagendar Sharma

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday described Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama as India’s “honoured guest”, and said India and China agreed that they had an obligation to maintain peace and tranquility along the border.

Singh met his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the 10th Asean (Association of Sourth East Asian Nations) at this Thai resort twice on Saturday.

Addressing a news conference on Sunday, the Prime Minister was asked if China had raised the issue of the Dalai Lama’s coming visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

“No they did not. I mentioned to them that he (the Dalai Lama) is our honoured guest. He is a religious leader who is not allowed to indulge in political activities,” he said.

Singh indicated the Indian government had no control on the Tibetan leader’s travel plans. “I am not aware of the plans of Dalai Lama.”

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Arunachal early November.

Asked if he raised the issue of Chinese incursions along the border during the last three months, Singh replied: “I had a frank and constructive exchange of views with Premier Wen, both during our formal meetings and at the gala dinner on all these issues.”

Singh said he agreed with Premier Wen that “existing mechanisms for bilateral cooperation should be used to resolve all issues amicably”.

The Prime Minister said both the leaders agreed “whatever outstanding issues there maybe between us, including the complex boundary question which cannot be wished away, there are established channels to exchange views on these.”

“We both agree that pending the resolution of the boundary question, we both have an obligation to maintain peace and tranquility along the border,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said the foreign ministers of India and China will have an opportunity “to discuss all issues that have a bearing on our relationship” when they meet in Bangalore on Tuesday.