By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 5: Following the significant pivot away from the long held position on the Dalai Lama and the exile Tibetan set-up by the Indian government in instructing its senior leaders and officials to avoid exile government’s planned events and meeting the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan President has departed Dharamshala today for a two day visit to the Indian capital.
Since March 1, reports in the Indian media emerged stating Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha issued a note for internal circular to all Ministries/Departments of Government of India as well as State Governments not to accept any invitation or to participate in the proposed commemorative events proposed by the Dharamshala based Tibetan government in exile known as the Central Tibetan Administration. The move was said to have necessitated amid “very sensitive time in the context of India’s relations with China”.
While the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement a day later on March 2 saying there were no changes in the stand towards the Dalai Lama, the spokesperson did not deny that an official directive was sent out. “He is a revered religious leader and is deeply respected by the people of India. There is no change in that position. His Holiness is accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in India,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
Coincidentally, the President of the CTA, Dr. Lobsang Sangay has today left for New Delhi on an official visit. “The two day visit from 4 to 6 March will see meetings with officials and dignitaries in Delhi,” the CTA run Tibet.net said. Secretary of CTA’s Information and International Relations wing, Sonam Norbu Dagpo told Phayul that President Sangay’s visit to the Indian capital has no direct link with the development.
The exile Tibetan government earlier in January launched the year-long “Thank you India” campaign in New Delhi, kick starting what the authorities said will see “a series of events to mark 2018 as the thank-you year.” The CTA has organized an event later this month in Arunachal Pradesh commemorating the Dalai Lama’s passage to India through Tezpur as well as grand event in Indian capital in April.