Nobel Peace Prize winning spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in March has left China fuming as it said India should respect its position on the proposed visit.
Much of what forms Arunachal Pradesh, China recognises it as a part of South Tibet and calls it Zhang Nan.
“We hope that the Indian government will act in accordance with the agreement with China where India recognises Tibet as a part of China,” Consulate General of China in Kolkata, Ma Zhanwu said.
China had earlier warned India that Lama’s visit would harm relations between the neighbours. The Chinese envoy hoped that the two countries handle differences properly to improve bilateral relations.
China also warned India to not further complicate matters on the China-India border and not give the Dalai Lama clique a platform for its anti-China separatist activities.
China regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist, though he says he merely seeks genuine autonomy for his Himalayan homeland, which Communist Chinese troops “peacefully liberated” in 1950.
India’s foreign ministry is of the view that the Dalai Lama is a revered spiritual figure and as an honoured guest of India, he is absolutely free to travel to any part of the country.
“He has a sizeable following among the Buddhists in Arunachal Pradesh who would like to seek his blessings. He has visited the state in the past as well, and we see nothing unusual if he visits it again,” the ministry had said.
Earlier, China strongly objected the visit of US ambassador to India Richard Verma to Arunachal Pradesh, seeing it as a demonstration that US considers Arunachal an integral part of India.
Earlier in April, Chinese foreign ministry had objected when the US consul general in Kolkata, Craig L. Hall reiterated that US “is absolutely clear” that Arunachal is India territory.
China’s opposition is significant at a time when New Delhi’s ties with Beijing have been strained not only over the Chinese raising obstacles to Indian membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, but also for the cover provided to Pakistan in multilateral bodies.