September 17, 2009

Tibet: India Rejects China’s Opposition to Dalai Lama Visit

Active ImageChina expressed objection last week to the Dalai Lama’s visit of a northeastern Indian state, which India has rejected, claiming it ‘has no merit.’ While the government has not explicitly said the visit will be permitted, Foreign Minister SM Krishna said the Dalai Lama “is free to go anywhere in India.”

 

 

Below is an article published by Bloomberg:

 

India rejects China’s opposition to a plan by the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled leader, to visit a northeastern Indian state claimed partly by China, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said.


China’s objection, voiced last week by its foreign ministry, has no merit, Krishna said today in an interview on India’s CNN- IBN television news channel. While the government has not explicitly said the visit will be permitted, Krishna said the Dalai Lama “is free to go anywhere in India.”


China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said last week the government opposes a Dalai Lama trip to India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, Reuters reported. While trade has flourished between the world’s two most populous countries, their relations still are hobbled by a border dispute, including China’s claim to much of the Himalayan state.


Indian news reports this month of Chinese incursions have renewed attention on the countries’ disputed 3,550-kilometer (2,220-mile) frontier 42 years after they fought a war over it.


Plans for a November trip by the Dalai Lama to Buddhist monasteries in and near the Chinese-claimed town of Tawang “have not been finalized,” and are under discussion with Indian authorities, Tenzin Takhla, the Dalai Lama’s spokesman, said yesterday. He spoke in a telephone interview from Dharamshala, the northwestern India headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile.


The central government hasn’t issued the authorization required for non-Indians to pass through checkpoints to Tawang, Tajom Taloh, the Arunachal Pradesh commissioner for home affairs, said yesterday. Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash declined to discuss whether permits for the trip are required or would be issued.


Because of continued Tibetan resistance to China’s 1959 takeover of the Himalayan region, China is “determined to impose a successor” to the 74-year-old Dalai Lama as Tibet’s spiritual leader, said Bahukutumbi Raman, an analyst at India’s Chennai Center for China Studies.


Buddhist monks use signs and prophecies to identify a child as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. Tawang, once ruled by Tibet, was the 17th-century birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama and China may suspect that Tibetan dissidents will identify a child from the area as their next leader after the current Dalai Lama dies, Raman said.


China is using the border issue “to keep a pressure point which they can use against India in order to make it control” Tibetan nationalists based in the country, notably in the Tibetan Youth Congress, Raman said in an e-mailed message.

 

The Dalai Lama fled Chinese rule over Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, in 1959, and crossed the border to India near Tawang. A Buddhist monastery in the town is one of the largest belonging to his Gelugpa sect of Buddhism, and local leaders invited him 18 months ago to dedicate a new hospital, built in part with funds he donated.


The Dalai Lama last visited Tawang in 2003, and canceled a planned visit there last year. His new proposal to go comes as China today repeated its opposition to his visit to Taiwan earlier this month to console survivors of a typhoon that killed more than 500 people.


It also follows Indian media reports of border incursions by Chinese troops. After the Times of India reported on Sept. 14 a rare incident of firing that it said injured two Indian soldiers, both the Chinese and Indian governments denied the account.
“I have taken note that some Indian media have released some inaccurate information,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang told reporters at a briefing yesterday. “I wonder what their purpose is.”