The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is expected to visit Arunachal Pradesh in October-November this year, according to the state's chief minister Pema Khandu. The announcement was made via Khandu's Twitter account after he met with the Dalai Lama, describing him as the "apostle of peace" and "embodiment of compassion".
Khandu tweeted, “Blessed to have an audience with the apostle of peace; embodiment of compassion; ocean of wisdom, His Holiness the 14th DalaiLama along with my family members today morning. Happy that His Holiness has reiterated his assurance to visit Arunachal by October/November this year. Sought His blessings for the State & its people”.
The exact location of the meeting was not mentioned, but the news of the Dalai Lama's impending visit has sparked some controversy. A video shared on social media recently sparked malicious propaganda against the Dalai Lama, leading to a demonstration by local people in Tawang on Saturday to protest against the attacks.
China had previously opposed the Dalai Lama's visit to India in 2017, which included Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing has also recently expressed anger over Indian Home Minister Amit Shah's visit to Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month, where he launched the "Vibrant Villages Programme" in a village close to the China and Myanmar borders. Indian politicians have criticised China for their opposition to Shah's visit.
The Dalai Lama is a revered spiritual figure for Tibetans and has been in exile in India since 1959. His visits to Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as its territory, have always been a contentious issue in Sino-Indian relations. The announcement of his upcoming visit is likely to further strain ties between the two countries.
Edited and collated by Team TRC