Irked by China, India signals turnaround on Dalai Lama
As Beijing keeps riling New Delhi with J&K rants, India invites 84-year-old Tibetan leader to deliver prestigious lecture instituted in memory of its second President.
The government has given its nod to an autonomous institution funded by its Ministry of Human Resource Development that is housed in the summer retreat of President of India to invite Dalai Lama to deliver a lecture next Thursday – a move, which is likely to rile China.
The Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) housed at Rashtrapati Nivas in Shimla has invited Dalai Lama to deliver a lecture instituted in memory of eminent educationist and philosopher Dr. Sarvepally Radhakrishnan, who had served as the first Vice President and second President of India.
New Delhi’s nod to the institution to invite Dalai Lama to deliver lecture signaled a subtle shift in its approach on engaging with the exiled Tibetans and it came about 20 months after the Cabinet Secretariat in February 2018 advised senior leaders and the functionaries of the government to stay away from events attended by Dalai Lama and other leaders of the global campaign to free Tibet from “repressive rule” of China.
Dalai Lama will deliver the 24th annual Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture at the India International Centre in New Delhi on Thursday. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, a member of Parliament of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Director-General of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) will be the Guest of Honor at the event, according to an invitation circulated by the IAAS.
New Delhi’s ties with Beijing came under stress once again after China joined Pakistan to oppose India’s August 5 decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and reorganize the state into two Union Territories.
China is concerned over the implication of the Modi government’s move on Jammu and Kashmir on its protracted boundary dispute with India. The Chinese government perceived it as New Delhi’s “unilateral” move to change the status quo in the disputed territory and to strengthen its claim – not only on areas of Kashmir under occupation of Pakistan, but also on 5180 sq km of areas ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963 as well as on Aksai Chin – a disputed territory between India and China.
Though Modi hosted Xi for the second “informal summit” at a seaside resort near Chennai on October 11 and 12, China’s opposition to India’s decisions on Jammu and Kashmir cast a shadow over the meeting.
India, in fact, raised its pitch to re-assert claim over its territories illegally occupied by China, after the communist country on October 31 described the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir as “unlawful”.