No political motive in Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit, says Kiren Rijiju

In the face of China’s protest over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday that no political motive should be attributed to the Tibetan spiritual leader’s trip to the Northeast.

“India has always been non-interfering in the neighbours’ internal affairs in our approach,” Rijiju told reporters in New Delhi.

“In the same manner, we expect the same from our neighbours,” he said.

“When Dalai Lamaji is in Arunachal Pradesh, he will be confined only to religious matters. He is not there to make any political statement and he is not there with any political motive.”

Rijiju, who himself hails from Arunachal Pradesh, is scheduled to visit the state on Wednesday and meet the Dalai Lama. He said India has never questioned China’s sovereignty and “has respectfully adhered to the one-China policy”.

“So we expect that China also should not interfere in our internal matters,” he stated.

Asserting that Arunachal Pradesh is not a disputed territory, the minister said, “We have certain issues with regard to delineation of the boundary on the spots, on the ground along McMohan Line because it is not being demarcated on the ground. That is why there is a talk between the special representatives of India and China and the people of Arunachal Pradesh hope that an amicable solution can be reached in the foreseeable future.”

Rijiju’s remarks came after India’s official statement earlier in the day that no “additional colour” should be given to the Dalai Lama’s visit this month.

“The government has clearly stated on several occasions that HHDL (His Highness Dalai Lama) is a revered religious leader, who is deeply respected as such by the Indian people,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

“No additional colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities and visits to various states of India,” it said.

“The government, therefore, urges that no artificial controversy should be created around his present visit to Arunachal Pradesh.”

China had said that ties with India would be hit if New Delhi allowed the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed by Beijing.

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