In the face of China’s protest over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday that no political motive should be attributed to the Tibetan spiritual leader’s trip to the northeastern state.
“India has always been non-interfering in the neighbours’ internal affairs in our approach,” Rijiju told reporters here.
“In the same manner, we expect the same from our neighbours,” he said.
“When Dalai Lamaji is in Arunachal Pradesh, he will be confined only to religious matters. He is not there to make any political statement and he is not there with any political motive.”
Rijiju, who himself hails from Arunachal Pradesh and is scheduled to go there on Wednesday to meet the Dalai Lama, said India has never questioned China’s sovereignty and “has respectfully adhered to the one-China policy”.
“So we expect that China also should not interfere in our internal matters,” he stated.
Asserting that Arunachal Pradesh is not a disputed territory, the Minister said: “We have certain issues with regard to delineation of the boundary on the spots, on the ground along McMohan Line because it is not being demarcated on the ground. That is why there is a talk between the special representatives of India and China and the people of Arunachal Pradesh hope that an amicable solution can be reached in the foreseeable future time.”
Rijiju’s remarks came after India’s official statement earlier in the day that no “additional colour” should be given to the Dalai Lama’s visit this month.
“The government has clearly stated on several occasions that HHDL (His Highness Dalai Lama) is a revered religious leader, who is deeply respected as such by the Indian people,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
“No additional colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities and visits to various states of India,” it said.
“The government, therefore, urges that no artificial controversy should be created around his present visit to Arunachal Pradesh.”
China in March said ties with India would be hit if New Delhi allowed the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed by Beijing.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Beijing was concerned over India permitting the Tibetan spiritual leader to visit the northeastern state of India.
Geng said China was strictly opposed to the impending visit by the Dalai Lama.
“China is strongly opposed to the Dalai Lama visiting disputed areas,” he told a regular press briefing.
Geng said India knew the sensitivity of the border issue between both countries and allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh would damage its ties with China.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as its own, calling it South Tibet. Besides, it accuses the Dalai Lama of separatist activities in Tibet.
According to the Dalai Lama’s office, from April 5 to 7 he will give teachings at Yiga Choezin in Tawang. On April 10, he will offer teachings at Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery in Dirang.
A day later, the Dalai Lama will be at the Buddha Park in Bomdila and on April 12 he will talk at Thupten Gatsal Ling in Itanagar.
Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is home to one of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries.
The Dalai Lama passed through this region when he fled into exile in 1959. Moreover, the sixth Dalai Lama was born there in the 17th century.