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China rakes up Dalai Lama, Tibet with Pratibha Patil

May 30, 2010

Priyanka Tikoo / PTI Friday, May 28, 2010 21:13  

China today raised the question of the "activities" of the Dalai Lama
with president Pratibha Patil and sought reiteration of India's stand
that Tibet is a part of China, striking a somewhat discordant note in
Patil's discussions, which have otherwise been described as "fruitful".

Jia Qinglin, who chairs the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference (CPPCC) and is ranked fourth in the leadership hierarchy,
brought up these issues during his meeting with Patil, a day after her
talks with president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao, at which no such
issue was raised.

Playing down the episode, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao said the
Chinese had sought reiteration of India's stand on Tibet and an
assurance that anti-China activities are not permitted on Indian soil.

"It often happens that in the course of discussions between India and
China all issues are raised.... it is a complex relationship," Rao told
reporters, adding that there were many issues on which the two sides
have sought "greater awareness of each other's concerns".

The 70-year-old Jia, who presides over the 2,196-member CPPCC, regarded
as China's top political advisory body, described the Dalai Lama as more
of a political leader than a spiritual figure.

Patil had called the Dalai Lama a spiritual leader who stays in India.

On Tibet, Patil is believed to have told Jia that India regards the
Tibetan Autonomous Region as a part of China and does not allow any
anti-China activity by Tibetan exiles in India.

The president is believed to have cited the example of the passage of
the Olympic torch through India ahead of the Beijing Olympics two years
ago when the government had taken steps to ensure that nothing untoward

Later, at her first public speech during her six-day state visit, Patil
sent a subtle but clear message to the Chinese leadership that "mutual
understanding of each other's sensitivities" holds the key to "deeper
and sturdier friendship" between the Asian giants.
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