BEIJING – China expressed on Monday its discontent to the Indian government over the Dalai Lama attending a public event in India.
The international conference on Buddhism, organized by India from Friday to Sunday at Rajgir in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, was inaugurated by the Tibetan religious leader and India’s culture minister Mahesh Sharma, and was also attended by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
“In recent days the Indian side, in total disregard of China’s stern representation and strong opposition, insisted on inviting the 14th Dalai Lama to attend the international conference on Buddhism held by the Indian government,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference.
“We urge the Indian side to clearly see the anti-China nature of the Dalai group and (...) respect China’s core concerns and avoid China-India relations from being further disrupted and undermined,” Hua added.
China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist, and usually pressurizes other governments from inviting him to official ceremonies or to receive him formally.
The Dalai Lama has been living in exile in the Indian city of Dharamsala since 1959.
Tensions between China and India is likely to escalate again in April, when the 81-year-old Tibetan leader is scheduled to visit the state of Arunachal Pradesh, disputed between the two countries, and that led to a brief war between the two in 1962.