No truck with Dalai Lama please, China to India
NEW DELHI: Behind the facade of a 'successful' informal summit, India and China may be passing through the worst phase in bilateral ties since the Doklam standoff. While a lot of it has to do with Beijings unequivocal denunciation of Indias reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the Dalai Lama or Tibet issue has added another layer of complexity to the troubled relations.
China officially reminded India yet again this month that any interaction which senior Indian leaders or government functionaries might have with the Dalai Lama was going to be detrimental to the bilateral relationship, ToI has learnt. This was conveyed to Indian officials days before the November 8-9 Rising Himachal global investors summit in Dharamshala, the seat of Tibetan government-in-exile, which was addressed by PM Narendra Modi.
China was apparently spooked by the possibility of Indian leaders and officials from both central and state governments engaging the spiritual leader, who met some of the delegates, in public. India responded by reiterating that Dalai Lama was not allowed to carry out any political activity and that the summit too was a non-political event. That the US ambassador at large for religious freedom Sam Brownback had met the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala just a week earlier also seemed to be playing on Chinese minds.
The issue was resolved in the end to the satisfaction of both countries allowing them to work for the bilateral meeting which Modi had with President Xi Jinping in Brasilia last week. This was a particularly sensitive time though as the issue of Dalai Lama reincarnation has dominated headlines internationally in the past few weeks. The 14th Dalai Lama is now 84-year-old and the US is actively working to ensure Beijing is not allowed to handpick his successor. It has even called for the UN to intervene in the succession issue.
It was foreign secretary Vijay Gokhales letter early last year calling for government functionaries to avoid sharing public space with Tibetans that helped pave the way for the first informal summit in Wuhan. While the first summit prevented any LAC flare up, the Chennai Connect, or the second edition of the informal summit, is not yet visible on the ground. It has been widely reported in the past few weeks that India has delayed visas to Chinese dignitaries and the 2 countries have evRead More – Source