Dalai Lama on Saturday started his 13-day trip to North East India despite China warning the central government against hosting the exiled Tibetan leader. “All these things are normal,” the spiritual leader said after Beijing on Friday said Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh would “have serious damage on bilateral relations”.
He started his trip from Guwahati on Saturday. He will be in the state till Monday when he is set to leave for Arunachal Pradesh, reported The Times of India. He will consecrate a new Buddhist temple in Lumla near Tawang. He will be in India till April 13.
China has strongly criticised Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Friday’s warning was the second time this month that Beijing has asked Delhi to cancel the leader’s visit. “China firmly opposes the Dalai Lama carrying out any activity in the relevant region and we have expressed our concerns to the Indian side,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Friday. “The Dalai clique has long been engaging in separatist activities with unglorious record [sic] ... But despite this India still invited the Dalai Lama to visit the region.”
The Centre had approved Dalai Lama’s visit in October 2016. Reports had then suggested that his visit was planned because of his strong connections with Arunahcal Pradesh. He came to India from China through the mountain route of Tawang in 1959. China lays claim to parts of Arunachal Pradesh, and both countries have varying versions of the Line of Actual Control separating them.