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‘PM didn’t avoid Dalai Lama’

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has never refused to share a dias with the Dalai Lama, said sources.

world Updated: Oct 25, 2010 01:41 IST
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has never refused to share a dias with the Dalai Lama, said sources.

Denying reports that Singh had declined an invitation from Jamia Milia Islamia University because he would have had to share a platform with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the sources said the PM had declined “because he had other things to do.”

Chinese concerns will nonetheless weigh heavily on Singh’s three-nation Asian tour. Bilateral concerns are expected to be on the agenda of Singh’s meeting with Chinese leader Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the East Asia summit in Hanoi.

India is taking up the issue of Chinese activity in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir strongly, said sources. Beijing has insisted there is no change in its policy, but New Delhi believes it is “not seeing that in practice.”

Sources said China’s practice of issuing stapled visas to Indians from Kashmir “is being dealt with.” Beijing is arguing that it never refused a visa to Northern Command army chief, B.S. Jaiswal. India, however, interprets China’s insistence on issuing the general a stapled visa as tantamount to a denial.

China has often requested that high-level military exchanges be resumed. Both sides want exchanges to be resumed, but will do so only after the Jaiswal incident is cleared up.

India is more sanguine about reports of Chinese plans to dam the Tibetan half of the Brahmaputra. While the bilateral water dialogue was postponed, New Delhi says there’s no sign Beijing is doing anything other than run-of-the-water construction.