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Dalai Lama's Tawang visit his own initiatve: Tharoor

November 11, 2009

The Economic Times
November 9, 2009

NEW DELHI (IANS) -- Minister of State for
External Affairs Shashi Tharoor Monday denied a
Chinese report that Tibetan spiritual leader
Dalai Lama was visiting Tawang under pressure
from India, pointing out that New Delhi does not
deal with the travels of religious figures.

Beijing-based newspaper Global Times had quoted a
Chinese analyst as saying that the Dalai Lama's
visit to the area, which China calls southern
Tibet, was done under pressure from India.

Tharoor told the India Economic Summit: "The
Dalai Lama is free to travel anywhere in India...
I have not heard the suggestion comes from us as
we do not deal with the spiritual travels of
spiritual leaders. He has to visit his flock as he sees fit."

He added that he was "sure that the initiative
(to visit Tawang) would have come from him".

China has protested against the visit of the
Dalai Lama to Tawang monastery in Arunachal
Pradesh. But Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
called him an "honoured guest" who is free to visit any part of India.

The minister said India had been "very generous"
by giving over "58,000 business visas" to the Chinese.

"As far as our basic policy is concerned, we
would certainly be hesitant to offer employment
to a foreigner for a job which could be done by
an Indian in India," said Tharoor.

India is currently revising its employment and
business visa guidelines. It has asked all
foreigners working in India on business visa to
return to their country by Oct 31.
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