India has never used me against China, says Dalai Lama during his Arunachal visit
Diplomatic tensions visibly escalated over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, as China on Wednesday lodged a protest with India and said that by ignoring Beijing’s concerns over the issue New Delhi has caused “serious damage” to bilateral ties.
Amid Beijing’s strident protests, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Wednesday said that India has never used him against China and urged that country to give Tibet meaningful “self-rule” and “autonomy”.
Reacting to Beijing’s objection against his visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the Nobel Peace Laureate said, “There are many in China who love India, but there are some narrow minded politicians because of their certain views.. like they considered me as a demon.”
Denying Chinese assertions that India was using him as a diplomatic leverage to challenge China, the Tibetan spiritual leader said, “I am India’s longest standing guest. India has never used me against China.”
On the Tibetan stand, he said: “We are not seeking independence. We are very much willing to remain with People’s Republic of China. I always used to talk about the spirit of the European Union, individual nations, individual sovereignty but that is not so important, what is important is common interest,” he told journalists, ahead of proceeding to Tawang for a major Buddhist event.
“Tibet is materialistically backward but spiritually highly developed. For material development, we need to remain with People’s Republic China as it is our interest. The government (of China) should feel OK for the mutual benefit,” he added.
However, the Tibetan spiritual leader noted, “China must give us meaningful self-rule, autonomy, and must take care of the environment in Tibet. China has the highest population of Tibetan Buddhists. Many Chinese intellectuals also fully support our cause.”
The Dalai Lama’s statement comes as China on Wednesday lodged a protest with India over his visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, addressing a regular briefing in Beijing, voiced her country’s “firm opposition” to the Dalai Lama’s visit and said Beijing would lodge “stern representations with the Indian side”.
The Chinese side lodged a protest with Indian Ambassador Vijay Gokhale in Beijing over the Dalai Lama’s visit.
On Tuesday, India said that no political motive should be attributed to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh and asked China not to interfere in its affairs.
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who is from Arunachal Pradesh, said: “India has always been non-interfering in the neighbours’ internal affairs in our approach. In the same manner, we expect the same from our neighbours.”