India slams China for objecting to Dalai's Arunachal visit

India on Tuesday hit out at China over its objection to the Dalai Lama's trip to Arunachal Pradesh, saying no "artificial controversy" should be created around the visit and asked Beijing not to interfere in its internal affairs.

China has kept a close watch ahead of the Dalai Lama's visit, starting Tuesday, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry had warned India against the visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader to Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as part of Tibet, saying it will cause "serious damage" to bilateral ties.

However, unfazed by the Chinese warning, India asserted, "No additional colour should be ascribed to his religious and spiritual activities and visits to various states of India." It also reiterated the government's position that the Dalai Lama is a revered religious leader who is deeply respected by the Indian people.

The government, therefore, urges that no "artificial controversy" should be created around his present visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the external affairs ministry said in a press release.

Reacting sharply, Minister of State for Home Kiran Rijiju asked China not to interfere in India's internal affairs and asserted that New Delhi respects the "One-China" policy and expects Beijing to reciprocate. He said, "There is no political angle behind His Holiness's visit to Arunachal Pradesh. It is completely religious. "Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable part of India and China should not object to his visit and interfere in India's internal affairs."

India has never interfered in China's internal affairs and it expect China to reciprocate, the minister told reporters.

The minister, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said the border state is "not a disputed territory" and is part of the Union of India and is a "full-fledged state".

"There may be some differences of opinion between India and China over the boundary. But China has no locus standi over Arunachal Pradesh," he said.
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