New Delhi(PTI): China on Wednesday lodged a protest with India’s Ambassador in Beijing Vijay Gokhale over the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s visit to the “disputed” Arunachal Pradesh.
It lodged a diplomatic protest for “obstinately” allowing the Dalai Lama, causing “serious damage” to bilateral ties.
“India in disregard to China’s concerns obstinately arranged the Dalai Lama’s visit to the disputed part of the eastern part of China-India border causing serious damage to China’s interests and China-India relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters.
Chinese firmly opposes this move and will lodge representations with the Indian side, she said.
On Tuesday, the 81-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader reached Bomdila in West Kameng district to start his nine-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
China claims parts of Arunachal Pradesh as southern Tibet and had previously warned that if India allowed the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh it would cause “serious damage” to ties.
On Tuesday, Chinese state media said India was using the Dalai Lama as a diplomatic leverage to challenge China’s “bottom line”.
The Chinese reaction came in an article in the state-run Global Times, which is part of the ruling Communist Party publications an is known for striking nationalistic postures.
“Beijing has voiced concerns over the issue, but New Delhi claimed that China shouldn’t intervene in its ‘internal affairs’,” the article said, referring to Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju’s comments on Tuesday.
“This is absurd,” the article said.
Rijiju has said India never interfered in Beijing’s affairs, has respected the “One China” policy, and thus China should not interfere in India’s internal affairs or object to the Dalai Lama’s visit.
“There is no political angle behind his holiness’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. It is completely religious.”