His Holiness The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and the hope of their struggle against Chinese oppression will be visiting Arunachal Pradesh next month. As expected, this has not been received well by the Chinese. While the Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit the border regions of India, China threatens consequences.
There is certainly a new assertiveness in India’s approach towards China. After the visit of Taiwanese Delegation to India last month India is testing the ‘Chinese waters’ again.
China foreign office in a media briefing warned India against allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the North Eastern state which China considers its territory. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Friday that, “China is gravely concerned over information that India has granted permission to the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh,”
Pointing to the border dispute, Chinese foreign office said that this visit of The Holy Dalai Lama could hit the bilateral ties as India is well aware of the Chinese dislike of The Holy Dalai Lama.
This marks a clear change in India’s China policy. The visit of The Dalai Lama will underline a new assertiveness in India’s attitude towards China. In a recent meeting with her Chinese counterparts, Sushma swaraj, Minister of Foreign Affairs asked, “Does China acknowledge a One India policy”. China insists on acceptance of “One China” policy in its foreign relations with other countries.
China of late has been acting against Indian interests very frequently, be it NSG membership, designating Masood Azhar as a terrorist or its support to Pakistan on various issues like CPEC.
Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State, Home Ministry said, “”He is going there as a religious leader, there is no reason to stop him. His devotees are demanding he should come, what harm can he do? He is a lama.”
The Holy Dalai Lama is the face of Tibetan nationalism and he is also considered the supreme Buddhist Authority in the world.
India has for long been very cautious when it comes to One China policy but the recent Chinese actions have infuriated many in India.
China’s “string of pearls’ theory, which is believed to be a strategy to contain India and its continuous blatant support to arch-rival Pakistan has led India modernize its Soviet era army.
The Holy Dalai Lama visited Arunachal last year as well but this time around he will be joined by Minister of state, Kiren Rijiju which will give ‘official’ flavor to the visit. Perhaps it is time that India should let China know that there are some ‘core’ Indian interests as well and those must not be taken for granted.