(TibetanReview.net, May12, 2015) – It has now emerged that Mr Amit Shah, the president of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), cancelled a scheduled meeting with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, while visiting Dharamshala on May 2 due to fear of offending China rather than lack of time as previously reported. The meeting was cancelled after a message from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), reported timesofindia.indiatimes.com May 11.
Shah was told that such a meeting days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s important visit to China will be “highly inappropriate”, the report added.
“The meeting, had it taken place, would have sent negative signals to the Chinese. These signals are very important in the conduct of foreign policy,” an unnamed senior BJP leader was quoted as saying.
However, the cancellation is seen only as a scheduling inconvenience rather than Mr Modi’s change of position on the Tibet issue. “The prime minister will surely meet His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, upon his return from China. In fact, the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday is soon coming up in July. The BJP president cancelled his meeting with the Dalai Lama because the government did not want the Chinese to be upset with the meeting on the eve of the PM’s visit to China,” indiatoday.intoday.in May 11 quoted BJP sources as saying.
The report also noted, however, that Mr Modi was cutting the ground from beneath his own feet by distancing himself from the Dalai Lama all the while promoting India as the founding Buddhist nation.