Amid a row over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the government Tuesday asked China not to interfere in its internal affairs, saying it respects the “One-China” policy and expects Beijing to reciprocate.
Making a statement on the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said here that the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit to the border state is completely religious and no political motive should be ascribed to it.
“There is no political angle behind His Holiness’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. It is completely religious. Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable part of India and China should not object to his visit and interfere in India’s internal affairs,” he told reporters here.
Rijiju said India has never interfered in China’s internal affairs and it expect China to reciprocate.
“We respect Beijing’s ‘One-China’ policy and we expect China to reciprocate,” he said.
The minister, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said the state is “not a disputed territory” and is part of the Union of India and a “full-fledged state”.
“There may be some differences of opinion between India and China over the boundary. But China has no locus standi over Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.
Rijiju said talks between New Delhi and Beijing on the boundary dispute are going on and the people of Arunachal Pradesh are expecting that soon it would be resolved.
“I appeal to China not to rake up Arunachal Pradesh issue unnecessarily as status of the state can’t be questioned,” he said.
The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Arunachal Pradesh today during which he will hold religious discourse with devotees in Tawang, Bomdial and other areas.
Earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had warned India that the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as part of Tibet, will cause “serious damage” to bilateral ties.
The minister said the Dalai Lama is visiting Arunachal Pradesh at the invitation of the people of the state. “As a democratic country, India can’t interfere in religious affairs of any community,” he said.
Rijiju said that the Dalai Lama will confine himself to only religious discourse and he will not make any political statement. He said the people of Arunachal Pradesh want good neighbourly relations with China and want reopening of trading points along the McMahon line which have been closed since 1962.
“The trading points were beneficial. People of Arunachal Pradesh are looking toward cooperative attitude from China,” he said.
Rijiju said the Arunachal Pradesh government has accorded state guest honour to the Dalai Lama and making arrangements for his stay there. Rijiju said that the Tibetan spiritual leader will also visit his (Rijiju’s) village in West Kameng district where he will inaugurate a Buddhist monastery.
The Dalai Lama had last visited Arunachal Pradesh in November 2009.