Olympic torch relay will be a success: India to China

April 3rd, 2008 - 8:01 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) India has told China it will do everything possible to ensure the success of the Olympic torch relay and not allow Tibetan refugees to indulge in anti-Chinese activities on its territory. This was conveyed by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee when his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi called him Wednesday. Yang had called Mukherjee to brief him about the situation in Tibet and discuss the security of the Olympic torch relay through India.

According to external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna, Mukherjee said the Indian government “will take the necessary measures to ensure that the passage of the Olympic torch is a success”.

India has already shortened the route for the journey in Delhi from nine kilometres to 2.5 kilometres to minimise the chances of disruptions.

Mukherjee reiterated that India has not changed its traditional position on Tibet and continues to view the Tibet Autonomous Region as an integral part of China.

“Dalai Lama is a religious and spiritual leader,” said the spokesperson, quoting the minister, adding that India does not allow Tibetan refugees settled in India to engage in anti-China political activities on its territory.

“The Chinese foreign minister expressed his appreciation for the government’s position,” he added.

He said Yang appreciated the steps taken by the Indian side to ensure safety and security of Chinese diplomatic and consular establishments and Chinese citizens in India.

Earlier on March 30, Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo spoke to National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan to discuss the security of the Olympic torch relay through India.

There are serious concerns that Tibetan activists - enraged over the Chinese police crackdown after the Lhasa riots on March 10 - would try to disrupt the journey of the Olympic torch in India after it arrives on April 17. These concerns had been heightened after some Tibetan activists had managed to breach security and enter the Chinese embassy compound.

Mukherjee had on Tuesday asked the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama not to do anything to “hurt” its ties with China.

“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 are estimated about 100,000 Tibetan refugees living in India, most of them settled in the north Indian town of Dharamsala which is the headquarters of the Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile which is not recognised by any country.

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