10/29/2016, 12.04
CHINA - INDIA
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Beijing threatens Delhi: Relations at risk if the Dalai Lama visits Arunachal Pradesh

The Tibetan Buddhist leader was invited by the chief minister Pema Khandu. In March 2017 he is due to go to Tawang, where there is a Buddhist monastery. Beijing raises the dangerous tones and threatens consequences in terms of peace and stability in the region. Indian territory is disputed since 1962.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The bilateral relations between India and China could suffer disastrous consequences and peace and stability in border areas could be at risk if New Delhi allows the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, scheduled for 2017.

This was the warning issued yesterday by Lu Kang, a spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, commenting on the invitation that the chief minister of the Indian state delivered to the leader of Tibetan Buddhism. For its part, Delhi has responded with a statement issued by Vikas Swarup, spokesman of the Indian counterpart, who said that the Dalai Lama "is a guest of India and therefore he is free to travel anywhere in the country."

Lu Kang was peremptory: "The invitation to the Dalai Lama to disputed areas will damage our mutual relations. His presence could stir up separatist activities against China. " The official raised the tone after learning that the Dalai Lama had received an official proposal from the chief minister Pema Khandu and should visit Tawang, home to a Buddhist monastery.

For years China has laid claim to more than 90 thousand square kilometers of territory on the border with India, in the eastern sector of the Himalayan range. Most of these territories form Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing considers "southern Tibet". This is why the Chinese dragon continually opposes visits of foreign leaders in that region.

For his part, Tenzin Taklha, personal secretary of the Buddhist leader, said that the "Dalai Lama is looking forward to visiting the Indian state" and added that the trip is expected by mid-March 2017.

The fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is considered a dangerous "separatist"  by Beijing, who would like to retake the lands of Tibet "peacefully liberated" by Chinese troops in 1950. Opposition to him has often taken a harsh tones such as when China described him as a "monk in wolf’s clothes, with his gang of separatists and terrorists seeking to destabilize China and Tibet”.

The Indian spokesman replied that the Dalai Lama "is a spiritual figure worthy of veneration and India considers him a guest of honor” and thus will not pose limits to his movement in the disputed territories.

The territorial dispute between the two Asian giants dates back to the brief conflict in 1962, during which China gained territorial control of Aksai Chin (a vast salt desert in the Valley of Kashmir that belonged to India), while the "North East Frontier Agency "- current Arunachal Pradesh - remained under the government of India.

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