India, China in verbal duel over Dalai's Bomdila visit

New Delhi hits back as Beijing talks of 'measures'
Report by: 
Beijing/New Delhi
5 Apr 2017

China warned today that it will take "necessary measures" to defend its territorial sovereignty and interests after India "obstinately" allowed the Dalai Lama to visit the "disputed" parts of Arunachal Pradesh causing "serious damage" to the bilateral ties.

The statement from Chinese foreign ministry prompted the external affairs ministry to react quickly. In New Delhi, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said: "We clearly said that the Dalai Lama is a revered religious leader and has visited Arunachal earlier on half a dozen occasions. "We also urged that no political colour be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities and to his visits to states of India, and no artificial controversy created around his ongoing visit."  Contradicting India's assertion, Hua said: "Could you tell me honestly do you seriously believe that Dalai is only a religious leader. I think the answer is known to all. He is not just a religious figure. "Therefore, his visit to the place will not be purely of religious purpose. So using the empty words to defend this arrangement is not reasonable. We demand the Indian side to stop this move of undermining Chinese interests", stated.

China also lodged a protest with India's Ambassador in Beijing Vijay Gokhale over the Dalai Lama's visit. "India in disregard to China's concerns obstinately arranged the Dalai Lama's visit to the disputed part of the eastern part of China-India border, causing serious damage to China's interests and China-India relations," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told newspersons. China firmly opposes this move, Hua asserted. "China's stand on the eastern part of the borders is consistent and clear. India is keenly aware of the role played by the 14th Dalai Lama. "Arranging his visit to those sensitive and disputed areas not only runs counter to the Indian side's commitment to the issues related to Tibet but also escalates disputes over the border area," she said.

Hua stated that it goes against the momentum of the sound growth of bilateral relations and will not benefit India in anyway. "The visit will for sure trigger China's dissatisfaction. This will not bring any benefit to India," she said. China will firmly take necessary measures to defend its territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests, the foreign ministry spokesperson of the neighbouring nation asserted. Asked what measures China would take, Hua did not elaborate. "I don't have much to add. I want to add the issues concerning Tibet have a bearing on China's core interests. India in disregard of China's concerns obstinately arranged the visit," she said.
"We demand the Indian side immediately stop its actions using the Dalai Lama to undermine China's interests and not hype up sensitive issues between the two countries, not artificially damage the foundation of the talks between the two countries on the border issues and bilateral legislations and take concrete actions to safeguard the China-India relations," she said.

The 81-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader reached Bomdila in West Kameng district on, starting his nine-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh. "We hope we can work together to maintain growth of India China relations. We know India and China are two close neighbours and countries in Asia. Cooperation between us will serve interests of the region," Hua said. (PTI)