Dalai Lama in Arunachal Pradesh
Despite warnings by the Chinese government, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, arrived at Bomdila , West Kameng district in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, India, to begin his 9-day visit to the state.
This is only the third time the spiritual leader has set foot in the state. The last time he visited Arunachal Pradesh was nearly eight years ago. His first visit was 50 years prior to his second visit, when he was on his way to India from Lhasa, Tibet, escaping the Chinese authorities.
China still claims the Dalai Lama as their prisoner and constantly demands for his return. The Indian government refuses to do so, saying the leader was in India by his choice, and would leave by his choice. Forcibly deporting him would be an infringement on their Constitution, because the leader was not breaking any law by staying in India. For China, the Dalai Lama is a threat to national security, because they see him as a rebel to China's authority in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh has enraged the Chinese government on two counts. One, China claims Arunachal Pradesh for itself, insisting that the state is part of Tibet. Second, the Indian government has supported one of China’s most hated enemies in his visit to areas they have claimed as their own. India ignored China's repeated warnings that this visit could increase the tensions between them.
The Dalai Lama will also be visiting the prestigious Tawang monastery and delivering discourses April 8-10. Tawang monastery is at the heart of the most important point of contention in this border dispute between the two countries.
The Dalai Lama was accompanied by the Chief Minister of the state, Pema Khandu, as well as other high-ranking police, civil and political officials.
The Indian Minister for State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, said just as India doesn't interfere in Chinese affairs, China shouldn't interfere in the internal affairs of India either. He also added the leader's visit is purely religious and had no political angle. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, however, refused to believe this, insisting the Dalai Lama definitely had a political agenda behind the visit.