(TibetanReview.net, Jul28’21) – In what is seen as a message to China, US Secretary of State Mr Antony Blinken has on Jul 28 met with the Delhi-based representative Mr Ngodup Dongchung of HH the Dalai Lama during his two-day maiden visit to India.
“Secretary Blinken had an opportunity to meet briefly this morning in New Delhi with a representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” the timesofindia.com Jul 28 quoted a US State Department spokesperson as saying, with the statement identifying the representative as Ngodup Dongchung.
Ngodup Dongchung also serves as the representative of the Central Tibetan Administration.
There were no immediate reports about any discussions that might have taken place during the meeting.
Meetings by foreign leaders with exile Tibetan leaders always rouse anger in Beijing which insists the Tibet issue is not about human rights or religious freedom but only about separatism and calls the meetings interference in China’s internal affairs.
Mr Blinken’s meeting with Mr Dongchung was the most significant contact with the Tibetan leadership since the Dalai Lama met then-president Barack Obama in Washington in 2016, noted Reuters Jul 28.
Indian media reports said the meeting was likely to provoke anger in China. Reuters said China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On the same day Mr Blinken – who had arrived the day before and met with Indian civil society leaders – also met his Indian counterpart, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, and other officials before heading to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
China annexed neighbouring Tibet in 1951, promising it autonomy but then took full control of it in 1959, rewriting its history to claim that it had been part of China since ancient times.
China was billed as one of the important topics for discussion during Mr Blinken’s visit to India, apart from boosting Indo-Pacific engagement, US supplies of Covid-19 vaccines, the security situation in Afghanistan, and human rights.