On Friday, China had expressed its anger over the Dalai Lama’s public engagement in India.
New Delhi: After China strongly objected to President Pranab Mukherjee sharing a dais with the Dalai Lama, India rebuffed Beijing on Friday, stating that Mukherjee was at a “non-political event” with a “revered and respected” spiritual leader.
Last Sunday, Pranab Mukherjee addressed a function, Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit” held at the Presidential Palace, where he shared a dais with the Tibetan spiritual leader. On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that India had gone ahead with the Dalai Lama’s public engagement despite Beijing’s “strong opposition”.
“China is strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to this,” he said. The Chinese spokesperson said that Dalai Lama used the guise of religion to engage in separatist activities. He said that India should recognise the “anti-China, separatist essence of the Dalai Lama clique and take steps to banish the negative impact of this incident to avoid disrupting ties between the Asian giants”.
A few hours later, Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup issued a statement dismissing Chinese concerns.
“You are aware of India’s consistent position. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a respected and revered spiritual leader. It was a non-political event organised by Nobel laureates dedicated to the welfare of children,” he said.
This is the second time in three months that Dalai Lama has been a source of friction between the two countries.
In October, China had said that bilateral ties could be damaged after Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu invited Dalai Lama to the frontier state, also claimed by Beijing, next year.
New Delhi and Beijing have been dancing around each other this year, with China having put all its eggs in Pakistan’s basket by opposing India’s admission in Nuclear Suppliers Group and putting a hold on the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed supremo Masood Azhar.
In turn, India has been a bit more vocal about the need to solve the South China sea under the aegis of the United Nations Convention for Law of the Sea, which has irked Beijing.