(TibetanReview.net, Jul09’21) – India has on Jul 9 sought to downplay any political angle in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Jul 6 offering of greetings to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his 86th birthday.
India has a consistent policy of treating the Dalai Lama as a respected religious leader and an honoured guest, the PTI news agency Jul 9 cited the country’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as saying when asked about Modi’s tweet saying he had called up the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet and wished for him “a long and healthy life.”
“It is the consistent policy of the government of India to treat his holiness the Dalai Lama as an honoured guest in India and as a respected religious leader who enjoys a large following in India,” the report quoted MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi as saying at a media briefing.
“His holiness’s birthday is celebrated by many of his followers in India and abroad,” he was reported to have added.
Other union ministers who had tweeted their greetings to HH the Dalai Lama included Mr Nitin Gadkari, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Hardeep Singh Puri, and Dharmendra Pradhan. Besides, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang were reported to be among those who offered their greetings to the octogenarian Tibetan spiritual leader.
Given India’s past record and the state of Sino-India relations these days, especially in the backdrop of the continuing Ladakh border standoff, Modi’s greeting was widely interpreted as a deliberate snub to China.