Ladakh Visit Religious: Govt Functionary On Dalai Lama’s Visit To UT

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama talks to the media as he arrives in Jammu on Thursday.

New Delhi- Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s visit to Ladakh is “completely religious”, and no one should have any objections to it, a top government functionary said on Friday.

The Dalai Lama will reach the Union Territory, bordering China, on Friday and is scheduled to stay there for about a month.

This is not for the first time that the Dalai Lama is visiting a border region as he had visited Ladakh as well Arunachal Pradesh several times in the past, the functionary said.

The Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader and his visit to Ladakh is completely religious. Why should anyone have objections to the tour, the government functionary said.

The spiritual leader’s visit to Ladakh is expected to rile China as it comes amid the military standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at several friction points in eastern Ladakh.

Earlier this month, China criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for greeting the Dalai Lama on his 87th birthday, saying India should stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

However, India rejected China’s criticism and asserted that it is a consistent policy to treat the Dalai Lama as an honoured guest of the country.

This is the Dalai Lama’s first visit outside Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh in the last two years as he was mostly confined to the hill station due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Dalai Lama had visited Ladakh in the past. He had visited Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) too but he could not undertake any visit in the last two years due to the pandemic, the functionary said.

On Thursday, the Tibetan spiritual leader said in Jammu that more and more people in China are beginning to realise that he is not seeking “independence” but meaningful autonomy and preservation of the Tibetan Buddhist culture.

“Some Chinese hardliners consider me a separatist and a reactionary and always criticise me. But now, more Chinese are realising that the Dalai Lama is not seeking independence and only wishing China (to give) meaningful autonomy (to Tibet) and (ensure) preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture, the spiritual leader said.

The Dalai Lama has been living in India ever since he fled Tibet in 1959. The Tibetan government-in-exile operates from India and over 1,60,000 Tibetans live in the country.

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