Rijiju said that Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh was in response to the 'wishes and appeals made by thousands of devotees'. Photograph: (Reuters)
India also took this opportunity to underline that the status of Arunachal Pradesh is 'indisputable'
With China continuing to raise the heat on Dalai Lama's visit to India's north-eastern frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh, India—in a veiled but stern message—today said that no “artificial controversy” should be created around this visit and added that “nobody should have any problem on the visit”. India also took this opportunity to underline that the status of Arunachal Pradesh is “indisputable”.
“When Dalai Lama is in Arunachal Pradesh, he will be confined only to religious matters. He is not there to make any political statement or he is not there with any political motive. So, unnecessary issues should not be raked up due to this visit,” Union minister of state for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh, said today.
India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), too, came out with a statement citing that the Tibetan spiritual leader, as per his website, had visited Arunachal Pradesh on six earlier occasions between 1983 and 2009.
“The Government has clearly stated on several occasions that His Holiness Dalai Lama is a revered religious leader, who is deeply respected as such by the Indian people. No additional colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities and visits to various states of India. The Government, therefore, urges that no artificial controversy should be created around his present visit to Arunachal Pradesh,” the MEA said.
Meanwhile, Rijiju said that Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh was in response to the “wishes and appeals made by thousands of devotees” and that during this visit, the Dalai Lama “will be addressing, giving blessings to thousands of devotees in West Kameng district, Tawang district and Itanagar”.
“We have heard some comments from many quarters including the Chinese government. The people of Arunachal Pradesh desire to have a very good neighbourly relation with people with China. We never intend to have any kind of problem with our neighbours. India never interfered into the internal affairs of China. We also never questioned the Chinese sovereignty and India has respectfully adhered to One China policy. So we expect that China also should not interfere in our internal matters,” Rijiju said.
The Dalai Lama is on a visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims is part of Tibet (WION)
The MoS also underlined that “being a democratic and secular country, India cannot restrict or stop the visit or a programme of any religious leaders in our country”.
“The religious sentiments of every community must be given all freedom. That is why we expect that nobody should have any problem on the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh,” he added.
Rijiju also stated that “Arunachal Pradesh is not a disputed territory”. “We have certain issues with regard to delineation or the boundary on the spots on the ground along McMahon Line because it is not being demarcated on the ground. That is why there is a talk between the special representatives of India and China and I hope and the people of Arunachal Pradesh hope that an amicable solution can be reached in the foreseeable future,” he added.
“But the status of AP is indisputable. Being a full fledged state of the Union of India, Arunachal Pradesh's status cannot be questioned. The territorial integrity of Arunachal Pradesh as a part of Indian union cannot be questioned. People of Arunachal Pradesh are upset by some people showing it as disputed territory. On behalf of the people of Arunachal Pradesh, I would like to appeal to our Chinese friends not to rake up this issue because as a neighbour we intend to have normal relations with China.”
Rijiju, who will be joining Dalai Lama in Arunachal Pradesh on April 5 and would accompany him for the next three days, further said that the state government had accorded Dalai Lama the status of a state guest and all the facilities for the entire arrangement of his visit are being arranged by the state govt.
He reiterated that India did not “intend to have any kind of damage in the relationship” with China and that it respects Chinese sovereignty and expected that China would respect India's sovereignty in return.
Dalai Lama, who is on a nine-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh, is slated to give a teaching and confer a White Tara Long Life Empowerment (drolkar tsewang) in the morning at the Buddha Park on April 5. On April 6, he will give teachings in Dirang on Geshe Langri Thangpa's Eight Verses of Training the Mind (lojong tsikgyema) & Guru Yoga (lama neljor) and confer the Avalokiteshvara Permission (chenresig jenang) in the morning at Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery. From April 8 to 10, he is scheduled to give teachings in Tawang. On the mornings of April 8 & 9, the spiritual leader will give teachings on Kamalashila's The Middling States of Meditation (gomrim barpa) & Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo's Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva (laklen sodunma) at Yiga Choezin. On the morning of April 10 morning, he will confer the Rinzin Dhondup Initiation at Yiga Choezin.