Dalai Lama surprised over Chinese claims on Tawang

Dalai Lama surprised over Chinese claims on Tawang

Dalai Lama greets people upon his arrival for a five-day visit to Asia's second largest monastery in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh on Sunday. AFP

The 74-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, who is visiting Arunachal Pradesh after a gap of six years, said there was no point in holding talks with China on the Tibet issue unless Beijing spells out its policy on it.

"It is quite usual for China to step up campaigning against me wherever I go," the Dalai Lama told reporters after opening a museum at the 400-year-old Tawang Monastery here. China has strongly objected to the Dalai Lama's visit as it lays claim to the sensitive border state.

He recalled his visit to Tawang 50 years ago while fleeing across the Himalayas after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet.

The Dalai Lama said the People's Liberation Army of China had occupied Tawang and nearly reached Bom Dila during the Sino-India war in 1962.

"But the then Chinese Government declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew (its forces). Now the Chinese have got different views. This is something which I really don't know. I am little bit surprised," he said in an apparent reference to Chinese claims over Tawang.

The spiritual leader, who flew to Tawang from Guwahati this morning, was welcomed by cheering Tibetans as he drove along the 10-km stretch from the helipad to the Tawang Monastery, accompanied by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Kandu.

Nestled in the scow-capped mountains, Tawang, located at a height of 11,400 feet, wore a festive look with colourful posters of the Dalai Lama and fluttering Indian and Tibetan flags with buildings along the VIP route given a facelift.

The Dalai Lama dismissed Chinese accusation that he was wanting to split that country by creating an independent Tibet.

"It is totally baseless on the part of the Chinese Communist Government to say that I am encouraging a separatist movement. My visit to Tawang is non-political and aimed at promoting universal brotherhood and nothing else," he said.

On his visit here, he said he was getting "emotional" as he had crossed this town in 1959 while fleeing from Tibet.

"I get emotional. When I escaped I had mental stress and anxiety. I had a feeling of hopelessness. But the moment I saw (Krishna) Menon and other MEA officials on the border then I had a feeling of reunion and safe," the Dalai Lama said.

"So, now I am very happy to be here. My main aim of the visit is promotion of human values wherever I go. Just now I returned from Japan where I explained that the ultimate source of happiness of life is within ourselves," he said.

Asked whether he had any message for China, he said, "nothing, no, nothing."
To a question on Tibet issue, the Dalai Lama said China should spell out its Tibetan policy.

"Unless they make clear their policy on Tibet there is no point in talking to them. No point in going back to the negotiating table unless they take care of the well-being of 6 million Tibetan people," he said.

The Dalai Lama said, "Their (Chinese) views on me keeps changing from time to time. Their views are different."

Asked about Chinese claims on Arunachal Pradesh, he said "you know my views on the issue."

The Dalai Lama said the Tibet Buddhist religion and the culture are passing through a difficult period.

"So for preservation of Tibetan Buddhism and culture in this country and in this area the people have the real responsibility. Many people, particularly young, belonging to the Tibetan refugee community are joining monastery and various  Tibetan institutions which is a very hopeful sign," he said.

The Dalai Lama said, particularly in south India 2,000 such community members have joined the institutions and the local people are showing genuine interest to study Buddhism and preserve its culture.

Braving the winter chill, thousands of Tibetans and locals lined up along the roads leading to the Tawang Monastery and greeted the Dalai Lama who arrived here on a four-day visit.

The Dalai Lama's cavalcade stopped at three places -- old market, Manjusree Vidyapeeth and new market -- as the spiritual leader blessed the people who greeted him.
The Dalai Lama's cavalcade took more than 45 minutes to reach the Tawang Monastery from the helipad.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who is here for the first time since 2003, inaugurated a museum inside the Tawang Monastery.

The museum named 'Gadenmamgyallhatsa' contains historic scriptures of the Buddhist faith.

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