India-China border differences can be resolved : Pranab

A day after the Tibetan spiritual leader rebuffed China for objecting to his trip to Arunachal Pradesh, Beijing made no comments but a state-owned paper suggested he had gone to the border town of Tawang under pressure from India.

The state-run newspaper Global Times quoted a Chinese analyst as saying that the Dalai Lama went "at this critical moment probably because of pressure from India".

It went on to say that "the appearance and activities of the Dalai Lama in southern Tibet may foment anti-China sentiment among people living in the region".

In London, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the two countries had agreed to resolve border issues through talks.

"It is true that we have differences with China on border. But, we have agreed to resolve them through dialogue," he told reporters after the G-20 meeting in Scotland.

China, which stakes claim to Tawang and the whole of Arunachal Pradesh as part of their country, has strongly objected to the Dalai Lama's visit.

India has made it clear that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the country. It has also stated in unambiguous terms that the Dalai Lama is an honoured guest and a religious leader who is free to travel anywhere in the country.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao have agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity on the borders.

On October 24, Singh and Wen met on the margins of the ASEAN Summit in Thailand amid Chinese protests over Arunachal Pradesh and reached a consensus that the two neighbours should forge a strategic partnership.

India does not visualise any conflict on border issues with China, Mukherjee said.
In New Delhi, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor dismissed the suggestion that India had prodded the Dalai Lama to undertake the visit.

"This suggestion has not come from us, because we do not deal with the spiritual travels of a spiritual leader. He has to visit his flock as he deems fit. So I am sure that as far as I am aware, the initiative would have come from him and the government would have been informed about it", the minister said adding the Dalai Lama "is free to travel anywhere in India".

The Dalai Lama, who is on a week-long visit to Arunachal Pradesh, had dismissed as "totally baseless" China accusing him of encouraging a separatist movement.

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