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Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit: China said no to foreign ministers’ meet in Delhi

Russia-India-China meet was to be held on April 14; Moscow was ready

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: May 5, 2017 9:08 am
Dalai Lama, Dalai Lama arunachal vist, Dalai Lama Arunachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Twang, Russia-India-China, Russia-India-China meet, China Dalai Lama, China on Dalai lama arunachal visit, Wang Yi , Sushma swaraj, Sergei Lavrov , Kiren Rijiju, India news, indian epxress news Dalai Lama in Tawang. (Source: File photo)

UPSET WITH the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, especially Tawang, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi refused to come to Delhi to attend the Russia-India-China foreign ministers’ trilateral meeting in April, The Indian Express has learnt. Sources said the RIC ministerial meeting, to be hosted by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, was scheduled to be held in Delhi on April 14, but Wang refused to come for the meeting.

The Indian side tried to accommodate Wang and also suggested alternate dates later in April — between April 20 and 30 — but the Chinese side did not agree to attend the meeting even then.

Sources said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had confirmed his participation and was ready to visit India, but he was asked by the Indian side to hold on. The meeting was finally cancelled.

While Beijing officially conveyed that the minister’s schedule did not permit him to attend the trilateral meeting, sources said the Chinese diplomats made it clear privately that Beijing was “extremely upset” with India over the Dalai Lama’s visit.

Sources said this was one of the first actions taken by an angry Beijing. China had summoned the Indian ambassador in Beijing on April 5 and lodged a strong protest as the Dalai Lama began his tour of Arunachal Pradesh.

Warning New Delhi that Beijing would take “necessary measures” to preserve its territorial sovereignty and legal interests, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said the visit by the Tibetan spiritual leader could “severely damage peace and stability in the region” and “hurt ties” between the two countries.

New Delhi had said that the Dalai Lama was a “revered religious leader” who had visited Arunachal Pradesh on “half-a-dozen occasions” in the past, and had urged that no political colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities, and his visits to states in India. India had said no artificial controversy should be created about his visit.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said: “China will take necessary measures to firmly preserve our own territorial sovereignty and legal interests. We ask India to stop this wrong behaviour. Taking advantage of the Dalai Lama harms China’s national interests. Do not speculate and expand the sensitive issues between two countries, do not purposely harm the negotiation of boundary as well as the foundation of our bilateral relation.”

That was Beijing’s sharpest reaction to the Dalai Lama’s visit, the fourth in under a month. “Tibet-related issues involve China’s core interest. China’s standpoint on this issue is consistent and clear. India does not care about China’s concern and negotiation and has purposely arranged the visit to a disputed area of China-India boundary. India’s invitation to the Dalai Lama to the disputed border region will severely damage peace and stability along border areas and hurt ties between the two countries,” Hua had said.

China maintains that parts of Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as South Tibet, form part of the mainland and India’s continued engagement with the Dalai Lama will cause damage to bilateral ties.

Beijing was also irked over Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju’s presence in Tezpur, which it perceived as official and political endorsement of the Dalai Lama’s visit.

Ties between India and China have been strained since 2016, over Beijing’s blocking of India’s application to become a member of the elite Nuclear Suppliers’ Group and efforts to designate Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” at the UN.

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  1. Anil Bharali
    May 6, 2017 at 6:09 am
    China has cleared her position. Let us see how Indian is going to repair this damage control. It is because of RSS's viewpoint of China.
    1. V
      V M
      May 6, 2017 at 1:51 am
      China is deteriorating to obnoxious positions. It is treating India with contempt. Chinese goods must be boycotted by every self respecting citizen of India. ASAP.
      1. Sankaran Krishnan
        May 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm
        Just reject China and let us not give too much importance and instead what India must have done is to call for the meeting between India and Russia and conve the decision taken at the meet to them whether they agree or not ?? Let us start isolating both China and stan and not to give too much importance for them and their views is the better way to deal with them !!!
        1. V
          VK Tondon
          May 5, 2017 at 3:24 pm
          Chinese leadership has been progressively too spoiled and appeased by successive Indian Governments since China swallowed Tibet w with impunity. The result is what we see now: their further criminal claims into Indian territory with rest of the world watching as shameless and unprincipled spectators.
          1. A
            May 5, 2017 at 2:55 pm
            We should not have cancelled the meeting.Thus we have insulted Russia.China can't decide what we should do and what not.Rev Dalai Lama is a religious leader and we respect him.
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