Beijing: Enraged by the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, China has said that the trip has “severely damaged China-India relations.” Hours before China’s Foreign Ministry made this statement, China’s official state media published an article in which it wrote, “Unlike his predecessors, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have taken a different stance on the Dalai issue, raising public engagements with the monk and challenging Beijing’s bottom line.” Amid the escalating tension, the Dalai Lama told, “India has never used me against China.”
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as “South Tibet”; India has repeatedly said the border state is an integral part of its territory. India yesterday made it clear that China is creating “an artificial controversy” over the Dalai Lama’s week-long visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which began yesterday.
Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju, who is from the state, said, “Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable part of India, and China should not object to his visit and interfere in India’s internal affairs.”
China, however, said it “expresses firm opposition to this (the Arunachal visit) and will lodge stern representations with the Indian side,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswomen Hua Chunying told a regular briefing in the Chinese capital. By ignoring China’s concerns and persisting in arranging the trip, India had “severely damaged China’s interests and China-India relations.” she said.
The Global Times, a state-run newspaper in Beijing known for its nationalistic posturing, warned, “New Delhi may have underestimated Beijing’s determination to safeguard its core interests…China doesn’t allow India to free ride on its economic growth while jeopardising Beijing’s core interests.”The Dalai Lama, who is 81, will offer teachings at the remote Tawang monastery among other places.
As a young monk, he fled Tibet in 1959 in fear of his life, after China poured troops into the region to crush an uprising. He entered India through Arunachal Pradesh after a 13-day trek through the Himalayas, disguised as a soldier to evade detection by Chinese troops who had marched into Tibet. India offered him a base in the hill town of Dharamsala, where he was allowed to set up a government-in-exile. “I am India’s longest-standing guest,” he joked today, describing Tibet as “culturally a part of India.” A few days ago he had also said, “Physically and mentally I am an Indian”.
The Global Times said that India is upset over being kept out, partly as a result of China’s efforts, of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, and over Beijing repeatedly blocking India’s attempt to have Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar blacklisted by the UN Security Council, which would lead to an international travel ban on the terrorist and freeze all his assets.