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Posted on: Global Times, April 8th, 2017
China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday criticized India for provoking a border conflict by inviting the 14th Dalai Lama to the controversial eastern part of the China-India border which, the ministry said, will “bring no benefits to India.”
The Dalai Lama’s visit to “Arunachal Pradesh,” called South Tibet in China, severely damages China’s interests and Sino-Indian relations, Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson, told a daily briefing.
“China firmly opposes this and will lodge solemn representations to India,” Hua said. “Well aware of the Dalai Lama’s role, India reneged on its commitments to Tibet-related issues and stirred up the border dispute by hosting the Dalai Lama in the sensitive disputed region,” Hua added.
This is not the first time that the Dalai Lama has visited South Tibet and called the region Indian territory, which means he is committed to separating the nation, Zhu Weiqun, head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times.
“India is losing its dignity as a big power by playing around with such a figure,” Zhu said.
“Since the Indian government expressed its disappointment over the recent strategic dialogue with China, inviting the Dalai Lama could be seen as a way to vent its grievance,” said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.
India and China held a strategic dialogue in February, exchanging ideas on a number of issues, including India’s application to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Because of the problems in bilateral ties, India is using the Dalai Lama as a bargaining chip, Zhao told the Global Times.
However, in the long run, the Dalai Lama is not the primary problem in Sino-Indian relations, and it’s not a problem that cannot be solved, Mao Siwei, China’s former consul-general in Kolkata, India and a South Asian expert, told the Global Times.
The Dalai Lama had also been invited to a Buddhism conference in India in March, where he shared the stage with Indian government officials.