US Congressional delegation to meet Dalai Lama in Dharamshala next week | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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US Congressional delegation to meet Dalai Lama in Dharamshala next week

Jun 14, 2024 09:20 PM IST

Micheal McCaul, a Republican, was among four US lawmakers who introduced the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act

NEW DELHI: A US Congressional delegation led by Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, is set to visit Dharamshala next week to meet the Dalai Lama, reflecting the continuing support of American politicians for the Tibetan leadership.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets a guest as he leaves after attending a special event during which exile Tibetans made him traditional offerings and prayed for his long life, at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharamshala on June 11. (AP)
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets a guest as he leaves after attending a special event during which exile Tibetans made him traditional offerings and prayed for his long life, at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharamshala on June 11. (AP)

The bipartisan delegation, which will also include former US speaker Nancy Pelosi, will be in Dharamshala, the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) or government in exile, on June 18-19, a Tibetan official said. The delegation will also meet Penpa Tsering, the Sikyong or political head of the CTA.

The visit, though scheduled earlier, will come days after the US House of Representatives passed a bill on June 12 urging China to re-engage with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders to resolve the dispute over the status of Tibet.

Also Read: How Tibetans are pushing back against China’s involvement in Dalai Lama’s succession

McCaul, a Republican, was among four US lawmakers who introduced the “Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act”, also known as the Resolve Tibet Act. It was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 391-26. The bill was previously passed by Congress in February but needed a second look as it was amended by the Senate, which passed it in May.

The bill, which will now be sent to US President Joe Biden to be signed into law, rejects China’s contention that Tibet has been part of the country since ancient times and urges Beijing to “cease its propagation of disinformation about the history of Tibet, the Tibetan people, and Tibetan institutions, including that of the Dalai Lama”.

People familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity that such a visit by a US Congressional delegation wouldn’t have gone ahead without the external affairs ministry signing off on it. It also comes against the backdrop of the dragging India-China military standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which has taken bilateral ties to an all-time low.

The delegation’s visit will coincide with a trip to New Delhi by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and deputy secretary of state Kurt Campbell, who are expected to participate in a meeting with Indian interlocutors to conduct a review of the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), the people said.

Pelosi has long been a supporter of the Tibetan cause and has visited Dharamshala in the past to meet the Dalai Lama and other leaders, the Tibetan official cited above said. The delegation’s visit, close on the heels of the passing of the Resolve Tibet Act, will send out a clear message that the Dalai Lama and the CTA are the real representatives of the Tibetan people, he said.

On the other hand, China has bristled at such visits and contacts between foreign political leaders and the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing describes as a separatist.

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