The spiritual head of Tibet, Dalai Lama said that he wanted Tibet to have ‘meaningful’ autonomy inside China rather than independence as he arrived in Jammu from Dharamshala on Thursday.
“Some hardliners in China think I’m a separatist,” Dalai Lama said, adding that there are now more and more Chinese people who are realising that the Dalai Lama is not seeking independence but only a ‘meaningful’ autonomy inside China to preserve Tibetan Buddhist culture.
In response to a query about China objecting to his journey to Ladakh, the spiritual head of Tibet responded and denied the claims made by Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, who had told the media that the 14th Dalai Lama was an anti-China separatist.
‘More Chinese people are becoming interested in Tibetan Buddhism’
In addition, the Dalai Lama said that more Chinese people are becoming interested in Tibetan Buddhism. According to him, some Chinese intellectuals have realised that Tibetan Buddhism is actually a religion of knowledge, tradition, and science.
The spiritual leader’s words came just after he left for a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, his first official trip away from his home in Dharamshala since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
Dalai Lama’s visit likely to enrage China
The visit of the Dalai Lama is expected to enrage China because Beijing recently chastised Prime Minister Modi for sending birthday congratulations to the Dalai Lama, who just celebrated his 87th birthday, saying that India should cease interfering in China‘s domestic affairs using Tibet-related matters.
The famed Thiksay monastery in Leh is among the places the Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit on his journey.
The Dalai Lama is treated as a guest in India, according to the government’s consistent policy, the External Affairs Ministry stated in response to China’s complaint.
India and China at odds since April 2020
Ever since the Dalai Lama sought refuge in India, Beijing has had a problem with him. The Tibetan spiritual leader had to seek refuge in India in the 1950s when China invaded Tibet without authorization. The Dalai Lama wanted to promote a halfway settlement with China to settle the Tibet problem amicably.
India and China have been at odds since April 2020 about Chinese Army violations in the Finger area, Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, and Kongrung Nala, among other places. After intense battles with Chinese forces in the Galwan Valley in June 2020, the situation deteriorated.
It is pertinent to mention here that the 16th round of Corps Commander-level discussions between China and India, which are scheduled to begin on July 17, is taking place just three days after this visit.