|Girish Shetti |||Oct 28, 2016 09:25 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) The Dalai Lama is set to make a visit to India's Arunachal Pradesh region next year.
China warned India on Friday that the Dalai Lama's proposed visit to the disputed region of Arunachal Pradesh will affect the bilateral ties between both nations.
"The invitation to the Dalai Lama for activity in the disputed areas between China and India will only damage peace and stability of the border areas as well as the bilateral relationship between China and India," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang.
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The Dalai Lama has been invited to visit Arunachal Pradesh in March next year by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, whose coalition government shares power with nationalist BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party).
Earlier this week, China expressed anger over American Ambassador Richard Verma's trip to the disputed state. Beijing said that the visit clearly signified U.S. interference in internal matters between India and China, adding that it is unacceptable.
Arunachal Pradesh is one of the areas of contention between India and China. China claims that nearly 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles), which is under India's control, is part of South Tibet. However, New Delhi has refused to accept China's claim, describing Arunachal Pradesh state as an integral part of India.
As for Dalai Lama, China labels him a "separatist leader," who is seeking to separate Tibet from Mainland China. The controversial figure, who is revered a spiritual leader, fled China in 1959 following a failed uprising. Since then the famous Buddhist monk has been living in exile in India's northern state of Himachal Pradesh.
India's decision to offer asylum to the Dalai Lama in the 1960s was largely perceived as an anti-Chinese move.
India and China have shared a love-hate relationship for several decades. Their mutual trust and bonhomie came to an abrupt end in 1962, when they fought a week-long war to settle a border dispute.
Following the war, China's decision to strengthen ties with India's arch-rival, Pakistan, has further complicated their bilateral relationship.
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