The Tibetan government in exile has cancelled its two events in New Delhi to mark the 60th year of the Dalai Lama’s exile, The Indian Express reported on Monday. This comes days after a report said the Indian government had asked its senior leaders to avoid attending the events in order to maintain ties with China.
An inter-faith prayer at the Gandhi Samadhi in Rajghat on March 31 has been called off, and a “Thank You India” event scheduled to be held at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex on April 1 will be moved to Dharamsala.
“The Thyagaraj stadium event has been shifted to Dharamsala now,” Central Tibetan Administration spokesperson Sonam Dagpo told The Indian Express on Monday. “And the inter-faith prayer at Rajghat has been cancelled for now.” The event in Dharamsala will be either held on March 31 or April 1. Ngodup Dhongchung, representative of the Dalai Lama in Delhi, also confirmed to the Hindustan Times that the event has been rescheduled.
After The Indian Express reported about a note sent out by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale asking leaders to avoid the Tibetan events, the Ministry of External Affairs clarified that India’s position on the Dalai Lama has not changed. While the ministry made no mention of the note in its statement, it said India’s position on the Dalai Lama is “clear and consistent”. “He is a revered religious leader and is deeply respected by the people of India,” the ministry said. “There is no change in that position. His holiness is accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in India.”
Central Tibetan Administration spokesperson Dagpo on Monday said there had been no communication from the Indian government to the Tibetan administration about this matter. “India is host to Tibetan refugees,” he said. “We respect the Indian government’s decision. We have no further comments.”
Another unidentified Tibetan administration official said they had planned to host speeches by the Dalai Lama and representatives from the Indian government, politics and academia at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex. “There was also a plan to gift a souvenir, a Dharmachakra, from the Tibetan administration to a representative of the Indian government, as an expression of our gratitude to the Indian government for hosting us for 60 years. But that plan is now being re-worked,” said the official.