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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Message before Tawang trip - Dalai Lama

November 9, 2009

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
The Telegraph (India)
November 6, 2009

New Delhi, Nov. 6 -- The Dalai Lama has sent a
message to Tibetan exiles in Sikkim at a time the
community is marking 50 years of its stay in the
state and just two days before his contentious trip to Arunachal Pradesh.

China has objected to the Dalai Lama’s visit to
Tawang but Delhi has told Beijing that the
Buddhist spiritual leader is free to travel anywhere in India.

Earlier, Beijing had claimed that parts of Sikkim were its territory, too.

Speaking of the close relationship between
Tibetans and Sikkimese throughout history, the
Dalai Lama dwelt on how Buddhism contributed to
the evolution of the Sikkimese identity.

"This Buddhist cultural heritage encourages the
cultivation of such ideals as compassion, peace
and non-violence, which have a role to play in
the development of the Sikkimese society.
Therefore, one way of getting the benefit from
this heritage and preserving it is to incorporate
its message in the educational system," he said in a message dated October 27.

Tibetan Buddhists belong to the Gelugpa sect and
Sikkimese Buddhists to the Nyingmapa, but the two
have had good fraternal relations for a long time.

Sikkim has a large population of Tibetan refugees
and the festival, which will go on till November
10, is the community’s way of thanking the
Government of India and the Sikkim government for providing them refuge.

"It is befitting that this festival is being held
to coincide with the 50 years of the Tibetan
people’s life in exile," the Dalai Lama stated in the message.

The Dalai Lama is visiting Tawang on November 8.

Tawang is the area where he entered India in 1959
when he fled Tibet. In a way, his trip would also
mark 50 years of his stay in the country.

Sources said the Buddhist leader will fly by an
Arunachal Pradesh state helicopter from Guwahati to Tawang.

Honoured as a state guest, the Dalai Lama is expected to visit Itanagar later.
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