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Dalai Lama in Tawang. Turns emotional, Asks China to spell its policy on Tibet

November 9, 2009

By M Rama Rao, India Editor
Asian Tribune
November 8, 2009

New Delhi, Nov 9 -- Tibetan spiritual leader, the
14th Dalai Lama, (74) is on a four-day visit
Tawang (11,400 feet) in Arunachal Pradesh, where
he landed 50 –years ago after fleeing from Tibet.

He is staying at the 300-year-old Tawang
Monastery. He will give religious discourses at
this monastery and at nearby Dirang (Nov 12), Bom
Dila (Nov 13) and Itanagar, the provincial capital, on November 14.

Expectedly, the visit has generated widespread
interest as China had raised objections and India
stuck to its guns that the Dalai Lama is an
honored guest and that he is free to travel
across the country without indulging in politics-
a euphemism for China baiting. India did not
allow foreign journalists to cover the visit.

This is not the first visit of the Nobel
laureate; he was in Tawang three times - in 1983,
1997 and 2003. In fact, in 2003 he had been to
Arunachal twice – first time to Tawang and the
second time to see Mahayana Buddhism dominated
western Arunachal. Never had he allowed himself
to be drawn into a political dialogue

This time, however, he surprised his hosts by
administering a public snub to China. ‘I am
surprised by its (China’s) claims on Tawang’, he
said on arrival to a rousing reception. ‘It is
quite usual for China to step up campaigning
against me wherever I go’, he observed and added
that there was no point in holding talks with
China on the Tibet issue ‘unless they (China)
make clear their policy’ (on Tibet)
He also gave lessons in history to all those
hearing him or monitoring his movements.

The People's Liberation Army (of China), the
Tibetan spiritual Guru recalled, had nearly
reached Bom Dila during the Sino-India war in
1962. Chinese Government itself made a unilateral
ceasefire declaration and withdrew its forces.
‘Now the Chinese have got different views. This
is something which I really don't know’.

The Dalai Lama remarked: ‘I am little bit
surprised’ over China’s claims over Tawang.

At the outset, the Tibetan spiritual leader
sought to set the record straight in so far his
visit was concerned. He said it was totally
baseless on the part of the Chinese Communist
Government to say that he was encouraging a
separatist movement. ‘My visit to Tawang is
non-political and aimed at promoting universal brotherhood and nothing else’.

Tawang came under a security blanket as the Dalai
Lama arrived in a helicopter from Guwahati in
Assam. The intense security drill however did not
dampen the enthusiasm of locals who came out in
large numbers and lined either side of the 10-km
road from the helipad to the Tawang Monastery.
Chief Minister Dorjee Kandu welcomed him at the
helipad and accompanied him to the Monastery.

Recalling the day he had arrived in Tawang in
1959 from Tibet, Dalai Lama said: ‘I am getting
emotional’. He said: when he escaped from Tibet
he had mental stress and anxiety. ‘I had a
feeling of hopelessness. But the moment I arrived
here, I felt safe. There were no Chinese behind us’.
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