Ladakhis Accord Warm Welcome To Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama who arrived in Leh on Friday was warmly welcomed by the people of Ladakh.

A large number of civilians and monks gathered to accord a warm welcome to the Tibetian spiritual leader. The Dalai Lama arrived at Leh airport in the afternoon as he commenced his Ladakh trip.

He left for Ladakh after a stopover in Jammu where he had arrived on Thursday from his base in Dharamshala.

“India and China are both competitive nations and neighbours, sooner or later you have to solve this problem through talks and peaceful means. The use of military force is outdated,” the Dalai Lama told ANI.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is on a two-day official visit to Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh.

This is the first official tour of the Dalai Lama outside his base in Dharamshala since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The visit also marks his first visit to the region since the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

This visit is also taking place just three days before the 16th round of Corps Commander-level meetings between India and China, which according to sources is expected to start on July 17.

Earlier talking to reporters in Jammu on Thursday, the 87-year-old spiritual leader said that the majority of people in China realise that he is not seeking independence within China but meaningful autonomy and preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture.

“Not Chinese people, but some Chinese hardliners consider me a separatist. Now, more and more Chinese are realising that Dalai Lama not seeking independence but within China meaningful autonomy and to preserve Tibetan Buddhist culture,” the Dalai Lama said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was responding to a question about China objecting to his visit to Ladakh.

The Dalai Lama also said that more and more Chinese are showing interest in Tibetan Buddhism. “Some of the Chinese scholars have realised that Tibetan Buddhism is truly knowledge and tradition and a very scientific religion.”

The spiritual leader’s trip is likely to irk China as Beijing had recently criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for extending wishes to the Dalai Lama on his 87th birthday, stating that India should stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

The External Affairs Ministry slammed China’s criticism and said that it has been a consistent policy of the government to treat the Dalai Lama as a guest in India.

Beijing has always had an issue with the Dalai Lama since he took shelter in India. In the 1950s, when China illegally occupied Tibet, the Tibetan spiritual leader had to take shelter in India. The Dalai Lama has tried to advocate for a mid-way negotiation with China to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet.

India and China have been engaged in a standoff since April-May 2020 over the transgressions by the Chinese PLA in multiple areas including the Finger area, Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, and Kongrung Nala. The situation worsened after violent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June 2020. (ANI)

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