China: India “fuelling tension” with Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit

RSTV Bureau

dalai_lamaChina has accused India of “fuelling tensions” and damaging its interests by allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh.

“By inviting and approving (the) Dalai Lama to (visit) disputed areas between China and India, India has damaged our interests and the India-China relationship and it has fuelled tensions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing in Beijing.

“We oppose the visit to relevant areas and oppose attempts by relevant countries to arrange a platform for (the) Dalai (Lama) to conduct anti-China activities. We urge the relevant country to stop such erroneous actions and stop undermining Chinese interests,” she added.

Beijing has already lodged a protest in Beijing with the Indian Ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale. In Delhi, the protest was lodged with the competent officials of the External Affairs Ministry, Hua said.

When asked whether Beijing views India’s permission to the 81-year-old Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh as amounting to questioning the ‘One China’ policy, Hua said, “I want to re-emphasise that on issues concerning China’s major concern and core interests, territorial and sovereignty, China’s position is consistent.”

The Dalai Lama is currently on a nine-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

The official media in Beijing slammed the development, saying that China should not hesitate to answer “blows with blows” if India chooses to “play dirty” by allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh.

Two English newspapers — China Daily and Global Times — launched a scathing attack on India after Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said that Arunachal Pradesh  — which China claims as part of Southern Tibet — is “an inseparable part of India”.

Taking exception to Rijiju’s remarks, the papers said India is using the Dalai Lama as a “diplomatic tool” against China for its “vice like veto” against India’s membership in the NSG and the UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry categorically said that the Dalai Lama’s visit has caused damage to India-China relations.

“We hope the two sides can continue to follow principle of mutual respect for each other’s core interests and major concerns and we should do more things that can strengthen mutual political trust and promote the overall interests of China-India relations,” Hua said.

Despite the historical dispute, the China-India border area has by and large remained peaceful recently, particularly since Beijing and New Delhi began to get serious about border talks, it said.

(With inputs from agencies)