Despite warnings by China, India has decided to allow the Dalai Lama to visit a Buddhist monastery in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. China claims that Arunachal Pradesh is a part of Tibet, and as such belongs to the Chinese. Naturally, the visit of one of China’s most wanted religious leaders to a state that China has laid claim upon can spike tensions between the two nations.
Chinese authorities are concerned about this information. However, Indian authorities are adamant about their decision, saying, “He is going there as a religious leader, there is no reason to stop him. His devotees are demanding he should come, what harm can he do? He is a lama.” The Dalai Lama has been given asylum in India ever since he escaped house arrest from the Chinese authorities in Tibet, although China has constantly been demanding that the leader of Tibetan Buddhism be handed over to them.
China has often tried to assert its dominion on the northeastern state by preventing leaders, Indian or foreign, from visiting. However, the current government ruling India has taken a tough nationalist stand and disregarded China’s warnings of impending tensions. This is not the first time that India would be ignoring China’s warnings. In the past, U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, and the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, have visited the state with the permission of Indian authorities.
Union Minster of State for Home Affairs of India, Kiren Rijiju said the Dalai Lama would be a guest of the Arunachal Pradesh government. When asked about China’s warnings, Rijiju said India is now ruled by a government that put the nation’s interests first. He added, India will neither allow itself to be dominated by others, nor does it seek to dominate anyone. The past governments have taken soft stands in such matters against China. The leader will himself be meeting the Dalai Lama during his visit to the Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Dalai Lama will be visiting the state at the state’s chief minister’s invitation. The last visit he made to the state was in 2009.