CHINA TOPIX

Updated 8:47 AM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

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China Warns India Over Dalai Lama’s Visit to Arunachal Pradesh; New Delhi Stands Firm

Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

(Photo : Getty Images. ) China has issued warning to Indian government that the Dalai Lama's planned visit to the disputed Arunachal Pradesh state will affect their bilateral relationship.

China has upped the antic against India for allowing the controversial spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to visit the disputed state of Arunachal Pradesh next month. The Asian giant warned its neighbour that the result of such an undesirable move won't be good for stability of the entire region.

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"India is fully aware of the seriousness of the Dalai Lama issue and the sensitivity of the China-India border question. ....if India invites the Dalai Lama to visit the mentioned territory, it will cause serious damage to peace and stability of the border region and China-India relations," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

What is also irking China is the fact that New Delhi is sending a special representative to meet the Tibetan spiritual in Arunachal Pradesh. Mr Kiren Rijiju, India's union minister of state for home affairs, is slated to hold talks with the Dalai Lama when he visits the disputed north eastern state in April.

The Modi government's engagement with the Dalai Lama at public platform is a stark departure from the previous governments, which maintained a distance from the Tibetan leader purely to maintain sound relations with Beijing.   

"It's a behavioural change you are seeing. India is more assertive," Rijiju told Reuters in an interview. The Indian minister said that the 81 year old spiritual leader is visiting Arunachal Pradesh as a revered religious leader and his presence in the region won't cause any harm.

Analysts say that New Delhi now wants to use whatever little political tool it has in hands to exert pressure on economically and diplomatically superior China. Understandably, the Indian government sees the Dalai Lama, whom China considers a dangerous insurgent leader, a solid bargaining chip that can be used against its Asian rival.

Both the Dalai Lama and Arunachal Pradesh Issues are highly sensitive issues in New Delhi - Beijing's bilateral relationship. The former issue represents a delicate issue of Tibetan insurgency, while the latter is symbolic of unresolved border issue that has vexed relationship between the two Asian countries for several decades.  

The Indian government cleared the Tibetan leader's visit to Arunachal Pradesh in October last year, when the NSG and Masood Azhar issues had considerably strained its relation with China.  

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