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I'm not going to Tawang to find heir: Dalai Lama

November 5, 2009

Seema Guha with inputs from Agencies
DNANews
November 1, 2009

In far away Japan, the Dalai Lama, who has by and
large not made any political statements on
Arunachal in the last few weeks,  batted for
India, claiming that the ‘disputed’ state is a
part of the union. The claim on India’s behalf
has not amused the government, though there has
been no official response to his statement.

Ahead of his proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh
(AP), Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader hit out at
China for opposing his trip to the state, saying
it was “politicising [the issue] too much,” as he
was going there solely for teaching. Asked
whether his successor (next incarnation) may be
found in Tawang, he emphasised that he will play
no role in such efforts. “If I was communist then
I would have to be concerned about my successor
but I’m not communist,” he said.

Talking to reporters in Japan, he was asked about
his visit to the state and China’s repeated
protests to India over it. The Dalai Lama went
back to the border war of 1962, pointing out that
many parts of the state were overrun by the
Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). But after the
ceasefire, the PLA withdrew from these areas. “…
they announced a unilateral ceasefire and
withdrew, accepting the current international
boundary,” the spiritual leader said.

He also spoke of his deep emotional attachment to
AP, as it was the place where he entered India
after his escape from Tibet in 1959. What he did
not say was that the sixth Dalai Lama was from
the Tawang region and the Chinese are afraid that
he may name his successor from there.

Privately Indian officials are put off with the
Dalai Lama’s claims, as Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh during his meeting with Wen Jiabao in
Thailand had devoted much time and energy in
explaining India’s position on the Tibetan
leader. The PM said he was a religious leader and
the Tibetans were not allowed to take part in any
political activity in India. India-China ties had
reached a low following the announcement of the
Dalai Lama’s visit, slated for November
8-14.  The Prime Minister had done some damage
control and tried to repair ties during his
meeting with his Chinese counterpart.

Manmohan Singh had assured Wen that the Dalai
Lama would be in Tawang for religious discourses
and would not fall out of line and make any
controversial remarks. “We had requested His
Holiness not to make any political statements.
Our expectations are that he would oblige,” a
senior official, who did not wish to be
identified said. Asked if by claiming Arunachal
for India, the Dalai Lama had overstepped the
line, the official refused to comment.

Whatever the spiritual leader says and does in
Arunachal will be watched closely by the Chinese.
The Tibetan leader will perhaps be told once more
not to make any controversial remarks. It is
unlikely that the Dalai Lama will go against the
Indian government. The gag order for him is
applicable only in India; he can choose to say
whatever he likes abroad. Many analysts believe
New Delhi is over sensitive to China’s likes and
dislikes and welcome the Dalai Lama’s plain talking in Japan.
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