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Dalai Lama cites Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai slogan, says Doklam standoff not serious

The Tibetan spiritual leader said there were periods when the two neighbours used harsh words, but the spirit of Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai is the only way forward.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2017 19:34 IST
Jayanth Jacob, New Delhi
Doklam standoff,Dalai Lama,Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai
The Dalai Lama waves as he leaves the UC San Diego campus in California, US on June 16, 2017.(Reuters file)

The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said on Wednesday the border standoff between India and China in the Doklam area of Sikkim is “not a very serious issue” and that the two neighbours will have to “live side by side”.

The Dalai Lama said India and China have gone through phases in the past when they used “harsh words” against each other and added the only way forward is the “Hindi Chini, Bhai Bhai” (Indians and Chinese are brothers), a phrase that defined the ties between the two countries in the 1950s, spirit.

“Even in 1962 (India-China war), Chinese forces which reached Bomdila (in Arunachal Pradesh), eventually withdrew. India and China have to live side by side,” the Dalai Lama, whom India calls a spiritual leader and an honoured guest but the Chinese term him a “dangerous separatist” said.

The 82-year-old spiritual leader was answering questions after delivering the Rajendra Mathur Memorial Lecture organised by the Editors Guild of India in New Delhi.

Indian and Chinese soldiers are locked in a standoff since June, with Beijing accusing New Delhi of trespassing and preventing its soldiers from building a road in disputed region of Doklam, or Donglang as the Chinese call it.

But India maintains that China’s road construction would alter the status of the tri-junction and says this violates a 2012 understanding that the status quo at the area cannot be changed without the consent of the third party (in this case Bhutan).

Diplomatic efforts to break the logjam, the longest standoff over two decades between the neighbours, are still on.

Answering to another question on the possibility of talks between the representatives of the Chinese government and his officials, the Dalai Lama said he expects some development in this regard after the party congress of the Communist Party of China later this year.

He said India “should sponsor” more Chinese students and “facilitate” more tourists from its neighbour to promote better understanding between the two countries.

The spiritual leader didn’t give a direct reply to a question whether the Narendra Modi government is more favourably-disposed to the Tibetan cause compared to the governments before.

First Published: Aug 09, 2017 13:12 IST