March 31, 2006
India on Friday said there was no change in its Tibet policy, maintaining that New Delhi has taken a consistent position that it was an autonomous region of China.
During an interaction at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran was asked if his recent visit to Dharmasala signalled any change in policy of New Delhi vis-a-vis Tibet.
"I am not aware of any change of government of India's policy on Tibet. We have taken a consistent position for a very long time that Tibet is an autonomous region of the People"s Republic of China. But we respect (Tibetan spiritual leader) the Dalai Lama as a very important religious figure and a very highly respected figure," Saran said.
"There is a reality that the Dalai Lama is in India; there is a large Tibetan community in India and for historical reasons the welfare of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community is handled by the External Affairs Ministry of the Government of India of which I am the civil service head.
"So my visit to the Dharmasala was essentially in that capacity," the Foreign Secretary added.