Dalai Lama free to visit any place in India, says MEA

Dalai Lama free to visit any place in India, says MEA

India on Thursday said the Dalai Lama was free to visit any place in the country and China should not attach “any political meaning” to the visits of the spiritual leader.

“He (Dalai Lama) is a revered religious figure who is treated as such by the government and the people of India,” Gopal Baglay, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, told journalists in New Delhi.

His comment came after China strongly reacted to the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh next month.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang on March 4 said that Beijing was “gravely concerned” over New Delhi allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh.

He also said that the visit would cause “serious damage to peace and stability of the border region and China-India relations”.

“The government has no say in his travels within India and no political meaning should be attached to them as such,” Baglay said on Thursday.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of leading a secessionist movement against China’s rule over Tibet. The Buddhist monk’s visit to Tawang near the de-facto India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh in 2009 sparked off strong protest from Beijing. Arunachal Pradesh has been at the centre of a long-pending boundary dispute between the two neighbours.

China does not recognise the state as a part of India.

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