Don't create artificial row, China told

Don't create artificial row, China told

 India on Tuesday asked China not to create an “artificial controversy” over the visit of Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh.

“The government has clearly stated on several occasions that the Dalai Lama is a revered religious leader, who is deeply respected as such by the Indian people,” Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Gopal Baglay said in New Delhi. “No additional colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities and visits to various states of India,” Baglay added.

His comment came as New Delhi’s response to Beijing’s high-decibel protest against the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh - a northeastern state which is at the core of the long-pending boundary dispute between India and China.

The Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in India since 1959, has been the face of the Tibetans’ struggle against the Chinese rule in their homeland. Baglay on Tuesday noted that the Dalai Lama’s current visit to Arunachal Pradesh should not be seen as unusual or unprecedented as he had visited the state in 1983, 1996, 1997, 2003 and 2009 too.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of pursuing a separatist agenda. China does not recognise Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India and claims over 83,500 sq km of territory in the state as its own.

Spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lu Kang had on Friday said the Tibetan leader’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh would cause a deep damage to the foundation of India-China relations.

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