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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

India to China: Dalai Lama an 'honored guest'

October 26, 2009

The Associated Press (AP)
October 25, 2009

Tibet's exiled Dalai Lama is an "honored guest"
in India and will not be barred from visiting a
disputed border area despite China's strong
protests, India's prime minister said Sunday
after talks with the Chinese premier.

However, the two Asian giants have agreed not to
let border tensions erupt into violence, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh said after meeting with
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at a regional summit in Thailand.

Beijing has strongly opposed a planned visit by
the Dalai Lama next month to India's northeastern
state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is at the heart
of a long-running border dispute with China.

China's protests stem from two hot-button issues.
Beijing opposes most activities of the Dalai
Lama, whom it accuses of advocating independence
from Chinese rule for his native Tibet.

Also, China considers the Arunachal Pradesh area
part of its own territory, not India's. Beijing
also protested a visit the Singh made to the same region recently.

The Indian and Chinese leaders met Sunday on the
sidelines of an Asian summit in Thailand, and Singh said

"I explained to Premier Wen that the Dalai Lama
is our honored guest. He is a religious leader,"
Singh told reporters, adding, "We do not allow
Tibetan refugees to indulge in political activities."

China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking
independence for Tibet, but the Nobel Peace Prize
laureate says he only wants autonomy for the
Himalayan region to practice its Buddhist culture.

He has lived in the northern Indian hill town of
Dharmsala since fleeing Tibet following a failed
1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

Ties between India and China have improved vastly
since a brief border war in the region in 1962,
but they remain divided over territorial claims
that contributed to the conflict.

In recent years, the two sides have held 13
rounds of talks on settling their border dispute but have made little progress.

"The premier (Wen) and I reaffirmed the need to
maintain peace and tranquillity on the border
pending a resolution of the boundary question," Singh told reporters Sunday.

He spoke on the sidelines of the East Asia
Summit, which brings the 10-member Association of
Southeast Asian Nations together with China,
Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
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