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Updated 10:35 AM EDT, Thu, Apr 18, 2019

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Dalai Lama Offers Olive Branch to China: Want Autonomy, not Independence for Tibet

Dalai Lama Demands Autonomy for Tibet.

(Photo : Getty Images. ) The Dalai Lama on Thursday offered an Olive Branch to China by saying that he merely wants autonomy for Tibetan region and not complete independence.

The Dalai Lama, who is currently on a visit to disputed region of Arunachal Pradesh, on Thursday tried to appease China by claiming that he merely wants autonomy for the Tibetan region  and not complete independence.        

This is probably the first time in recent years that the controversial spiritual leader has made a direct plea to China for granting autonomy to the Tibetan region.  

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"We are not seeking independence. We want China to give us meaningful autonomy. We want to remain with the People's Republic of China," the Dalai Lama told reporters in Arunachal Pradesh town of Bomdila.

The Dalai Lama added that Tibet can benefit from China's materialistic development, while the latter can benefit from Tibet's spiritual advancement. He stressed that Beijing needs to acknowledge and feel the same about mutual benefit.    

The Buddhist leader also flatly dismissed the allegation that Indian government is using him as a diplomatic tool against China. He claimed that all his work is purely aimed at spreading across the Indian values such as non-violence and harmony.

The Chinese government so far has not given any official reaction to the Dalai Lama's latest overtures on Tibet.

China's Lodges Protest over Dalai Lama's Visit to Tibet   

Meanwhile, China has been left completely miffed by India's decision to allow the Dalai Lama visit the disputed state of Arunachal Pradesh. In an unprecedented move, the Chinese foreign ministry summoned Indian ambassador Vijay Gokhale on Wednesday to lodge protest over the issue.

This is the first time that Beijing is forced to summon the Indian ambassador since April 2008, when then Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao was summoned after Tibetans violent protest outside the Chinese embassy in New Delhi.

Separately, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a critical statement over the ongoing visit of Dalai Lama that called on New Delhi to stop using the Tibetan leader as a strategic asset.   

"We demand India stop using the Dalai Lama to do anything that undermines China's interests, and we also demand the Indian side not hype up sensitive issues between India and China," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

Hua also warned that Dalai Lama's visit to the Arunachal Pradesh has caused a serious damage to Indo-Sino bilateral relationship.   

Analysts claim Beijing feels challenged by India's move    

India's bold move to arrange Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh is being seen as a direct challenge to the Chinese government, according to the most political analysts. They claim that by arranging this controversial visit New Delhi aims to give a fitting response to China's repeated snub over the issues of Masood Azhar and NSG last year. 

The contagious issues of Masood Azhar and NSG put considerable strain on India - China relationship last year, with Beijing refusing to budge from its hardened stance on both the issues.

China's non-cooperation put immense pressure on the Indian government to take retaliatory measure against its Asian rival, with the Dalai Lama being its easiest diplomatic weapon. The Dalai Lama has been living in asylum in India's northern state of Dharamshala since 1959, when he escaped Tibet after leading a failed uprising against the Chinese government.      

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