The Dalai Lama seems set to visit India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh next year, but the move has raised eyebrows in Beijing and there is a possibility of fresh confrontation arising between India and China, which the latter claims to be a disputed territory between the two countries. The government cleared the Dalai Lama’s fortnight-long visit to the state where he will visit Tawang, Itanagar and other eastern sections of the state. In the past there has been heavy militarisation on the Chinese side of the border. This practice is seen each time India and China disagree on an issue on the international stage.
India recently hosted US Ambassador Richard Verma in the state but China had shown great opposition to his visit and India insisted that it will act as it deemed fit since the state is an integral part of the country. India’s closeness to the US has put China on guard and it seems to be on the edge when it comes to its territorial or diplomatic disputes.
The Dalai Lama had planned to visit the state in 2009 as well but that visit had to be dropped due to opposition from China and chances of increasing diplomatic hostilities transcending to the Indo-China borders.
The Dalai Lama had fled China in 1959 and sought political asylum in India. He has mostly stayed at his sanctuary in Dharamsala along with the Tibetan Government in Exile. India has a long spiritual connection with the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama has played a large role in global humanitarian and peacekeeping negotiations.
The Indian government has stood with the Tibetans, a stand that has irked China consistently and has prompted the latter to increase tensions along the Sino-India border on multiple occasions.
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Members of the Chinese government are expected to visit India soon including Yang Jiechi, the state councillor for China. The talks may end up on the topic of Tibet and Arunachal as well. Though India has remained adamant that it will not be bullied on territorial matters by China, extended amnesty to the Dalai Lama isn’t something Chinese aggression can take away. However, the situation seems to be heading to a standoff again, most likely on the diplomatic stage.