The Dalai Lama's week-long trip to Arunachal Pradesh state, an eastern Himalayan region administered by India but claimed by China as "southern Tibet", has infuriated China, where the Nobel Peace laureate is considered a risky separatist.
He has visited Arunachal Pradesh six times in the last eight years.
In its strongest statement yet on the Dalai Lama's Arunachal visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry today said, "Recently in disregard of China's concerns, the Indian side insisted on arranging activities in the disputed eastern section of the China-India border and indulged provocative statements by the 14th Dalai Lama and a specific Indian official".
China on Wednesday reiterated that the visit of the Dalai Lama will have a negative impact on Sino-Indian ties and accused New Delhi of breaching its commitment on the Tibet issue.
"Tibet has had very good relations with China for thousands of years". Yes, it officially belongs to India, but only because of the McMahon line, a boundary drawn by British imperialists in 1911, which China no longer accepts (though China did settle its boundary with Myanmar along the same line).
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The Dalai Lama, considered the God-king by his followers, was given a colourful and traditional welcome upon his arrival with musicians and dancers clad in traditional costumes performing. The Tawang speech is the Dalai Lama's way "of getting under the skin of the Chinese, of probing them, and reminding them that they have no control over where the next reincarnation occurs", said historian Robert Barnett of Columbia University.
Shashi Tharoor, a former United Nations undersecretary-general and former Indian minister of state for external affairs and minister of state for human resource development, is now chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs and a member of parliament for the Indian National Congress. "The Dalai Lama's visit to the sensitive region benefits neither".
The Dalai Lama wondered why despite his middle-path the Chinese government continued to call him a separatist and show a negative attitude. In the intervening two-and-a-half years the Prime Minister finds the bilateral relationship not living up to its promise. Add to that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that China is building through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir much to India's outrage, and an earlier incursion by its soldiers into Ladakh, and a pattern seems to form.
According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, a Dalai Lama is reincarnated as a child upon his death. Its Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the next Dalai Lama will be chosen by drawing lots from a sacred urn in Lhasa.
A female Dalai Lama would be unprecedented, but so would the Dalai Lama being reincarnated outside of Tibet.