NEW DELHI, April 4 - Taking umbrage at China�s objection to Dalai Lama�s ongoing visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India today said that no artificial controversy should be created around the religious leader�s visit to the northeastern state.
Official sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said that the government has clearly stated on several occasions that the Dalai Lama is a revered religious leader, who is deeply respected by the Indian people. No additional colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities, and visits to various states of India, sources added.
India pointed out that the Dalai Lama, who is on a visit to the Northeast has visited Arunachal Pradesh on six earlier occasions. The Dalai Lama had visited Arunachal Pradesh in 1983, 1996, 1997, 2003 (twice) and 2009, in addition to the ongoing tour.
During his 12-day tour of the northeastern states, including Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the Dalai Lama delivered lectures at several institutions besides attending the Namami Brahmaputra festival in Guwahati.
PTI adds: Reacting sharply, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju asked China not to interfere in India�s internal affairs and asserted that New Delhi respects the �One-China� policy and expects Beijing to reciprocate.
�There is no political angle behind His Holiness�s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. It is completely religious,� he said, adding, �Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable part of India and China should not object to his visit and interfere in India�s internal affairs.�
India has never interfered in China�s internal affairs and it expect China to reciprocate, the minister told reporters.
The minister, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said the border state is �not a disputed territory� and is part of the Union of India and is a �full-fledged state�. �There may be some differences of opinion between India and China over the boundary. But China has no locus standi over Arunachal Pradesh,� he said.
Rijiju said talks between New Delhi and Beijing on the boundary dispute are going on and the people of Arunachal Pradesh are expecting that the issue will be soon resolved. �I appeal to China not to rake up the Arunachal Pradesh issue unnecessarily as status of the state can�t be questioned,� he said.
During his visit to the northeastern state, the Dalai Lama will hold religious discourse with devotees in Tawang, Bomdila and other areas.
Rijiju said the Dalai Lama is visiting Arunachal Pradesh at the invitation of the people of the state and will confine himself to only religious discourse and he will not make any political statement. �As a democratic country, India can�t interfere in religious affairs of any community,� he added.
The Arunachal Pradesh government has accorded state guest honour to the Dalai Lama and is making arrangements for his stay there, Rijiju said, adding the Tibetan spiritual leader will also visit his (Rijiju�s) village in West Kameng district where he will inaugurate a Buddhist monastery.