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India shouldn’t undermine China's interests by using Dalai Lama, says Beijing

Still smarting over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, China has accused India of “using” the Tibetan spiritual leader to undermine Beijing’s interests.

world Updated: Apr 24, 2017 18:37 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
India-China relations,Dalai Lama,Arunachal Pradesh
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama performs a ritual at Tawang in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh on April 10, 2017. The Dalai Lama‘s weeklong visit to Arunachal Pradesh angered China, which considers the state a disputed region.(AP)

India shouldn’t undermine China’s interests by “using” Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Beijing said on Monday, adding once again that his high-profile visit to Arunachal Pradesh this month had harmed bilateral ties.

“Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh had a negative impact on India-China ties. India should observe commitment on Tibet-related issues and should not use the Dalai Lama to undermine China’s interests,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh is part of southern Tibet and the Dharamshala-based 14th Dalai Lama is a separatist plotting to carve out an independent Tibetan state from China’s mainland.

By repeating it’s displeasure at the Dalai Lama’s visit almost a week after it ended, the foreign ministry clearly indicated it has not bought what India has been saying about the trip – that it was religious in nature and the Tibetan leader is free to travel and doesn’t plan his itinerary at the behest of the government in New Delhi.

On the face of it, Lu’s comments were in response to a statement on Friday from the external affairs ministry that there was no change in New Delhi’s position on Tibet being part of China.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said last week India will continue to seek a fair and mutually acceptable solution to the dragging boundary dispute with China.

China clearly doesn’t given much credence to such statements.

The government, state media and experts perceive a pattern in how India is “using” the issue of Tibet and the Dalai Lama – the invitation to the leader of the Tibetan government in exile to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration in May 2014, the Dalai Lama’s meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee in December and now his visit to Arunachal Pradesh indicates to China that India has hardened its stand on Tibet-related issues.

“What India has done is violated the solemn commitment on Tibet-related issues and it also has negative impact on proper settlement of the territorial disputes between the two sides through negotiations,” was how Lu described the visit last week.

The boundary and Tibet-related issues “bear the political foundation of China-India relationship” and the two countries have reached “important consensus” of resolving the dispute through talks and consultations.

Lu had also said: “We hope that the Indian side bears in mind the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples and safeguards the political foundation of the bilateral relationship and do not take any provocative actions.”

First Published: Apr 17, 2017 15:12 IST