|Girish Shetti |||Apr 05, 2017 11:41 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stressed that the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh is purely a religious affair and there is nothing to the visit that should upset a third party country.
The Dalai Lama arrived in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday morning, marking the beginning of the controversial spiritual leader's nine-day visit to the disputed region, which has left China completely miffed.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prema Khandu used the occasion to castigate China for its claim over India's north-eastern state. "As far as China is concerned my message to them is straight India doesn't share a border with China, we share our border with Tibet. They shouldn't be worried," he said.
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Earlier, India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stressed that the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh is purely a religious affair and there is nothing to the visit that should upset a third party country.
But such diplomatic statements have done little to assuage China. Beijing considers the Dalai Lama as a "dangerous insurgent" and Arunachal Pradesh as a "territorial conflict" that cannot be compromised on.
Chinese state media has repeatedly accused India of using both the contentious issues as a diplomatic tool against Beijing after the latter snubbed New Delhi repeatedly last year at the United Nations (UN).
The Dalai Lama is currently stationed at Bomdila town in Arunachal Pradesh and will soon depart for the Tawang region, which China specifically claims to be part of Southern Tibet. The Asian giant stakes is laying claim to nearly 38,000 sq km area of the disputed north-eastern state, claiming the entire area to be part of Tibet.
However, New Delhi has refuted Beijing's claim and considers the entire Arunachal Pradesh state as an integral part of its union.
The Dalai Lama's last visit to the disputed state was in 2009 under the Congress government, which maintained a respectable distance from the spiritual leader in a bid to maintain good relations with China.
But the current Indian government under the B.J.P Party seems to be departing from past practice of non-engagement with the Dalai Lama. It has recently increased its engagement with the globe-trotting spiritual leaders.
Last month, the Indian government arranged the visit of Australian cricket team to the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamshala. The event was widely covered by the Indian media.
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