India dismisses protest, says it was a non-political event
New Delhi: India on Friday dismissed Chinese objections to a meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Pranab Mukherjee recently, saying the meeting was at a “non-political event organised by Nobel laureates dedicated to the welfare of children,” adding that the Dalai Lama is a “respected and revered spiritual leader”.
“India has a consistent position. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a respected and revered spiritual leader. It was a non-political event organised by Nobel laureates dedicated to the welfare of children,” ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
He was asked about China taking strong exception to the Tibetan spiritual leader’s meeting with Mr Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan during a children’s summit and asserting that India must respect China’s “core interests” to avoid “any disturbance” to the bilateral ties.
“Recently in disregard of China’s solemn representation and strong opposition, the Indian side insisted on arranging for the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to the Indian Presidential palace where he took part in an event and met President Mukherjee,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing on Friday.
“The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to that,” he said, replying to a question on the Dalai Lama’s presence in the opening session of the ‘Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit’, reportedly organised by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Children’s Foundation on December 10.
But experts feel that there is no need for India to pander to Chinese concerns when China has shown no regard for Indian concerns. Just recently, India’s diplomatic efforts to get China’s backing for NSG membership bid and getting JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN seemed to have come a cropper with Beijing saying its stand on the two key issues “remains unchanged”.
Just last week foreign secretary S. Jaishankar had, in New Delhi, expressed dismay over the two countries not being able to come together on the issue of “fundamentalist terrorism.”