New Delhi: The Chinese media on Thursday described India’s move to allow Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh despite China’s objection as “clumsy and rude”.
It further threatened that China could interfere in “turbulent” Kashmir against India’s invitation to the 82-year-old Tibetan leader.
An editorial in the state-run Global Times said: “With a GDP (gross domestic product) several times higher than that of India, military capabilities that can reach the Indian Ocean and having good relations with India’s peripheral nations, coupled with the fact that India’s turbulent northern state borders China, if China engages in a geopolitical game with India, will Beijing lose to New Delhi?”
“The Dalai’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh this time is seen as New Delhi using the monk as a diplomatic tool to put pressure on China,” it said.
“But this is a clumsy and rude move. The Dalai is a highly politicised symbol in China’s diplomacy. For any country, its attitude toward the Dalai Lama almost affects the entire relationship with China.”
Meanwhile, a top Chinese official said India was “losing its dignity”.
“This is not the first time that the Dalai Lama has visited south Tibet and called the region Indian territory, which means he is committed to separating the nation,” Zhu Weiqun, the head of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times.
“India is losing its dignity as a big power by playing around with such a figure.”
Meanwhile, Zhao Gancheng, the director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the tabloid that inviting the Dalai Lama could be India’s way to register its disappointment with the recent strategic dialogue with China.
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On Wednesday, China reacted angrily to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh and said that by ignoring Beijing’s concerns over the issue New Delhi has caused “serious damage” to bilateral ties. India reiterated that no political colour should be attributed to the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit to the northeastern state.
Diplomatic tensions escalated with Beijing summoning the Indian envoy Vijay Gokhale to lodge its protest, even as the 81-year-old Tibetan leader, who arrived in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday, said in Bomdila that India has never used him against China.
In a prelude to China’s belligerence, the Chinese state-run media yesterday warned that New Delhi’s inviting the Tibetan spiritual leader to the “sensitive region” would “gravely damage” India-China relations.
China considers large parts of Arunachal Pradesh as south Tibet, while India has said that Arunachal is an inseparable part of its territory.
China had protested former US envoy Richard Verma’s visit to Tawang last October and warned Washington against meddling in the border dispute between New Delhi and Beijing.