Saturday, September 12, 2009

Will the Dalai Lama visit Tawang?

This is the Dalai Lama's fifth visit to Tawang that he had passed through while fleeing to India in 1959. He has visited other parts of Arunachal six times since then. Beijing describes Tawang a part of China on grounds that the VIth Dalai Lama was born there in the 17th century.

The Sixth Dalai Lama is born in Tawang in 1683
Will the People's Republic of China 'allow' the Government of India to clear the Dalai Lama's long-pending visit to Tawang.
This is a serious question. The answer will show how far South Block is able to resist Beijing's bullying tactics.
The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said that he stood by the Agreement signed in March 1914 between his predecessor's Administration and the Representative of British India, Sir Henry McMahon. The McMahon Line has been (since 1914) and is still today the border between India and Tibet (whatever is the status of Tibet).
The fact that the Sixth Dalai is born in Tawang is irrelevant. Is France part of Kashmir because Dr. Karan Singh is born in Cannes on the French riviera? What about Liaquat Ali Khan born in Karnal, Haryana; Zia-ul-Haq born in Jallandar or Pervez Musharraf born in Darya Ganj, Delhi? Does this makes Haryana, Punjab or Delhi part of Pakistan?

The Times of India
Dalai Lama may visit Tawang in November
Prabin Kalita, TNN 11 September 2009
GUWAHATI/NEW DELHI: Amid reports of a Chinese military build-up in Tibet, the Dalai Lama has decided to visit Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as its own, in November.
The proposed visit comes exactly a year after the exiled Tibetan leader dropped his plan to visit Tawang "because of the Lok Sabha elections''.
"China doesn't need to worry about the trip. It's purely a spiritual and religious visit,'' said Chimme Choekyappa, the Dalai Lama's secretary. "All that I can tell you is that he is likely to go to Arunachal Pradesh in the second week of November. He is going there at the invitation from some local Buddhists,'' Choekyappa told TOI from Dharamsala.
Though officials in Dharamsala aren't sure if the Tibetan leader would visit Tawang during his trip to Arunachal in November as the "tour itinerary is still being planned'', they hint that the spiritual leader may visit Tawang just like he did last month when he visited Taiwan for a "spiritual visit'' despite protests by Beijing.
"India is a free country and there should be no problem in the Dalai Lama's visit to Tawang, considering the fact that he had come to India via Tawang and has visited the place before,'' said a Central Tibetan Administration official, on condition of anonymity. "We were very disappointed last year when the Indian government denied the Dalai Lama the permission to visit Tawang,'' the official added.
Last year, the Dalai Lama was denied permission to visit Tawang, reportedly under pressure from China.

Speaking about the proposed visit, T G Rimpoche, Congress MLA from Lumla and a close aide of the Dalai Lama, said the spiritual leader has agreed to visit Tawang. The trip is, however, subject to granting of the Restricted Area Permit by the Union home ministry a rule applicable to all foreign nationals visiting Arunachal. "It's now up to the Centre to grant him the permission,'' the MLA said.
He added that November is the right time for the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal because the weather would be good and the October 13 Assembly elections would be over by then.
Besides holding spiritual and religious discourses, the Dalai Lama would inaugurate a multi-speciality hospital at Tawang with the money that he had got from his followers.
If the Dalai Lama visits Tawang in November, it's likely to infuriate the Chinese who have been claiming that not just Tawang but the entire Arunachal is part of their territory. The Chinese have raised their pitch on the border issue in recent months and the visit if it happens will cloud Sino-Indian ties, which have been under strain of late due to reports of violations and skirmishes along the international border.
"We are hopeful of the Indian government allowing the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal this time. It's a spiritual tour. Besides, it's important for India to take a firm stand on the issue of Tawang and send a signal to China,'' says the Tibetan official, on condition of anonymity.
It may be recalled that soon after his visit to China last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had gone to Arunachal to show that "the state was an integral part of India''. However, the PM didn't visit Tawang.
China warns Dalai Lama against Arunachal visit
September 12, 2009
China has opposed the planned visit of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama [ Images ] to Arunachal Pradesh and voiced 'strong concern' over the November trip.
"China expresses strong concern about this information. The visit further reveals the Dalai clique's anti-China and separatist essence," the Washington Post reported on Friday quoting Reuters.
"China's stance on the so-called Arunachal Pradesh is consistent. We firmly oppose Dalai visiting the so-called Arunachal Pradesh," Jiang Yu, the spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying in the report.
The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Laureate, plans to visit Arunachal Pradesh in the middle of November though details are yet to be worked out.
Last year, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu visited Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh [ Images ] to invite the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang to inaugurate a hospital. The Dalai Lama has contributed Rs 20 lakh for its construction.
Tawang is home to one of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries. The Dalai Lama passed through this region when he fled into exile from Tibet [ Images ] in 1959. The sixth Dalai Lama was also born in Tawang in the 17th century.

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