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Dalai Lama reschedules Tawang visit

LiveMint logoLiveMint 04-04-2017 PTI

Itanagar: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has rescheduled his visit to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh as his chopper could not take off due to inclement weather in the region and will instead reach Bomdila in the state by road from Guwahati today. He is expected to reach Bomdila in West Kameng district by late Tuesday evening, his private secretary said.

Wednesday, the spiritual leader is scheduled to visit Dirang, 14 kilometers from Bomdila and on Thursday he will go to Tawang before visiting Itanagar on 12 April. The Dalai Lama will deliver a discourse at the Buddha Park in Bomdila on Wednesday.

On April 6, he will give teachings at Dirang and confer the ‘Avalokiteshvara Permission’ at Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery in the morning. From 8 to 10 April, the Dalai Lama will deliver discourses in Tawang.

The Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh comes eight years after his previous visit in 2009. The previous visit came exactly 50 years after he had passed through the town on his way from Lhasa in Tibet to India.

Amid persistent Chinese objections to the Dalai Lama’s trip to Arunachal Pradesh, India said today that no “artificial controversy” should be created around the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit.

Also Read: India stresses Dalai Lama’s Arunachal Pradesh visit ‘religious’

The government asked China not to interfere in its internal affairs, saying it respects the “One-China” policy and expects Beijing to reciprocate.

Making a statement on the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said in New Delhi that the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit to the border state is completely religious and no political motive should be ascribed to it.

“There is no political angle behind His Holiness’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. It is completely religious. Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable part of India and China should not object to his visit and interfere in India’s internal affairs,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

Rijiju said India has never interfered in China’s internal affairs and it expect China to reciprocate.

Also Read: China warns India again on allowing Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh

“We respect Beijing’s ‘One-China’ policy and we expect China to reciprocate,” he said. The minister, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said the state is “not a disputed territory” and is part of the Union of India and a “full-fledged state”. “There may be some differences of opinion between India and China over the boundary. But China has no locus standi over Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.

Rijiju said talks between New Delhi and Beijing on the boundary dispute are going on and the people of Arunachal Pradesh are expecting that soon it would be resolved. “I appeal to China not to rake up Arunachal Pradesh issue unnecessarily as status of the state can’t be questioned,” he said.

Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry had warned India that the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as part of Tibet, will cause “serious damage” to bilateral ties.

The minister said the Dalai Lama is visiting Arunachal Pradesh at the invitation of the people of the state. “As a democratic country, India can’t interfere in religious affairs of any community,” he said.

Rijiju said that the Dalai Lama will confine himself to only religious discourse and he will not make any political statement. He said the people of Arunachal Pradesh want good neighbourly relations with China and want reopening of trading points along the McMahon line which have been closed since 1962.

“The trading points were beneficial. People of Arunachal Pradesh are looking toward cooperative attitude from China,” he said.

Rijiju said the Arunachal Pradesh government has accorded state guest honour to the Dalai Lama and making arrangements for his stay there. Rijiju said that the Tibetan spiritual leader will also visit his (Rijiju’s) village in West Kameng district where he will inaugurate a Buddhist monastery.

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