Dalai Lama to visit Union territories of J&K, Ladakh
The development comes even as India, China ties have slipped into negative terrain in the last 2 years since the Galwan incident at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in 2020
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama will be on a visit to the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh next week. He will visit Jammu on 14th July, and Ladakh on 15th July. This is the first such visit by the Buddhist leader in over 2 years from his abode in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.
The visit takes place even as the Buddhist leader's birthday on Wednesday saw a major celebration in Dharamshala and Delhi and greetings by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers of several states like Odisha. In a tweet PM Modi said that he had spoken to the spiritual leader, adding, "We pray for his long life and good health." The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur was the chief guest at the celebration organized in Dharamshala, which hosts the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile.
In Delhi, while the Tibetan colony saw a celebration, a reception hosted by the Tibetan government in exile saw the presence of 2 Indian ministers of state-- MoS for culture and ministry of external affairs Meenakshi Lekhi and Mos for Law S. P. Singh Baghel. Both ministers, officials present at the reception said, were present in a personal capacity. Minister Lekhi in her statement said, "India was not the country where he (Dalai Lama) was not born, but India is one country which he loves and respects as his own. He is someone who adopted India as his mother and adopted son, but nevertheless son of India, as he says".
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The reception was attended by many foreign ambassadors and diplomats, including Russian diplomats. America's top diplomat (Chargé D’Affaires) Patricia Lacina & Taiwan's envoy to India, Baushuan Ger were also present. The visit and the mega celebrations are expected to irk China, given its uneasy ties with the Tibetan spiritual leader. Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after the invasion and annexation of the region by China. So far, no reaction has come from Beijing.
The development comes even as India, China ties have slipped into negative terrain in the last 2 years since the Galwan incident at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in 2020. Chinese aggressive action in Galwan led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers, even as Beijing remained mum on its own count for a long time before accepting its losses.
On Thursday, both the Indian foreign minister Dr S Jaishankar and the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi met on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali, Indonesia. This is the 2nd such in-person meeting between the two leaders this year, after Wang Yi's Delhi visit in March. The session could lead to a leadership-level meeting between PM Modi and the Chinese President in Uzbekistan's Samarkand in Mid-September on the side-lines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
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