India to Dalai Lama: don’t hurt India-China ties

April 1st, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) India Monday urged Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama not to do anything that could “hurt” its ties with China while staying here as “India’s guest”. “He is a respected guest in India,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said after inaugurating a college in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district.

“The Dalai Lama can stay here as India’s guest but he should not do anything that harms India’s diplomatic ties with China,” Mukherjee said.

“There has been no change in the policy formulated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,” he stressed, while reiterating India’s position that the Tibetan Autonomous Region is a part of China.

Mukherjee’s remarks, seen by some as a bid by New Delhi to appease Chinese anxieties about the safety of the Olympic torch relay through India, comes a day after India’s football captain, Bhaichung Bhutia, said he would not carry the Olympic torch in protest against China’s actions to quell unrest in Tibet.

China Tuesday said it has garnered “sufficient” evidence to prove that exiled Tibetan groups had organised and carried out riots in Lhasa last month at the instigation of the Dalai Lama.

Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo spoke to National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan last weekend and discussed the security of the Olympic torch relay through India.

Narayanan had reiterated that Tibet was part of Chinese territory and India does not allow Tibetans to conduct “anti-China political activities” in the country.

“India will always stick to this position as it has been doing all along,” the Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Narayanan as having told Dai. Narayanan had wished a “complete success” for the Beijing Olympics.

Recently, China had summoned Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao to the foreign office past midnight to convey concerns over storming of its embassy in New Delhi by some Tibetan protesters.

Beijing had also expressed its anxieties about the safety of the Olympic torch, which is due to pass through India April 17 as Tibetans threatened to disrupt the relay in protest against the reported Chinese crackdown on pro-independence protests in Lhasa March 14.

Soon after the unrest in Lhasa, India had said it was “distressed” at violence in Lhasa and hoped the situation could be improved through dialogue.

In a press conference in New Delhi Saturday, the Dalai Lama blamed the violence in Lhasa on Chinese soldiers who he said were disguised as Buddhist monks. He also said he remained committed to seeking “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet through his “middle way” that eschews violence and separation.

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who has been living in Dharamsala in India for decades after he fled Tibet in 1959, has appealed to China not to use force, and address “the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with them”.

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