03/03/2018, 09.19
CHINA - INDIA

Delhi tells officials to avoid events with the Dalai Lama

A circular letter from the foreign secretary. The 60th anniversary of the Lhasa uprising is commemorated at the end of March. "Delicate moment in relations between India and China". A second note clarifies that the leader of Tibetan Buddhism is "free to conduct religious activities in India".

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An internal circular letter from the Indian foreign secretary to all of its government officials and political leaders has been leaked in which it asks them to "avoid participation in any event that may require the presence of the Dalai Lama". Not only that, the same note emphasizes that it is "a very delicate period in the context of relations between India and China".

Celebrations are planned at the end of March, in many parts of the Indian territory, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Lhasa uprising in Tibet, which forced the leader of Tibetan Buddhism into exile. However, Beijing has always accused the Dalai Lama of being a "dangerous separatist" and a "wolf dressed as a monk".

The directive that has caused a stir was written on 22 February by Vijay Gokhale, secretary for Foreign Affairs, and addressed to P K Sinha, Union Cabinet Secretary. In turn, Sinha has issued provisions for all government officials. In the latter he affirms that "participation in events involving Buddhists in exile is not desirable". Gokhale then wrote that such participation "must be discouraged".

Last year a territorial dispute on the Doklam plateau in Bhutan threatened relations between the two Asian Giants which, albeit slowly improving, are always at tipping point. In particular, Beijing has never forgiven New Delhi the fact that it welcomed the Tibetan government in exile, which resides in Dharamshala, in Himachal Pradesh.

In an attempt to stem the wave of criticism, yesterday the Foreign Ministry issued another note specifying that the Tibetan spiritual leader is "granted every freedom to bring his religious activities to India". The dicastery statement states that "India's position on His Holiness the Dalai Lama is clear and coherent. He is an illustrious religious leader and is deeply respected by the people of India. There is no change on this position".

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